There is a phrase often heard via name-calling retaliation among school yard quarrels. After receiving verbal wounds of an opposition, one might say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.
Perhaps this retaliation is meant to soothe the inner being of the offended, when in one’s truth, the words could do more hurt than the “sticks and stones” being tossed about.
Merriam-Webster states that “vulnerable” is derived from the Latin noun vulnus, meaning “wound” and then led to the Latin verb vulnerare, meaning “to wound”. Furthermore, vulnerabillis became “vulnerable” in English in the early 1600s. So, “vulnerable” originally meant “capable of being physically wounded”.
A Sign of Good Leadership
Understanding what this means in leadership, is perhaps a work in progress. There are appropriate times and places for certain things and when the opportunity presents itself, leading vulnerably has great power.
Some might say it’s a sign of weakness while others would view it as a sign of strength. This perspective can then be determined in how leading vulnerably is acted upon.
So, after tracing some etymology, where is this applicable in the workplace? An “A Player” will see the great power in leading vulnerably. For as it’s a willingness to openly share something deep and personal in hope of helping the one receiving. Therein lies the risk in being “wounded”.
The Watermelon Farmer
There’s a story of a watermelon farmer. As the Farmer walked the field after an early morning storm, he noticed how one of his watermelons was all scared and cut up by the hail. Being quite observant the Farm took quick action making sure the watermelon and vine had plenty of sun, water and protection from pests, viruses and fungi. Soon thereafter came time for harvest. Though the watermelon had been through great difficulty, the Farmer saw it to grow to be the largest in the field. Even as it was scared and damaged from the storm, the watermelon had a story to tell through its experience.
This story was inspired and adapted from a personal story once told out of vulnerability. As being “A Player” leaders in the workplace, experiences, insights and lessons learned provide great power when given vulnerably. Perhaps, it’s the most vulnerable stories that have the greatest impact, return and reward.
As the Farmer recognized the watermelon’s imposition, the actions taken yielded a great reward. Like the Farmer, leading vulnerably opens up the business to become stronger from within when being a gift, shining bright, and leading with love.
From Guest Blogger, Randy Hickman
Randy Hickman is the visual storiest and owner of Penrod Media. Randy has worked with Tap the Potential in capturing content, crafting stories and creating opportunities for more businesses to experience all that Tap the Potential has to offer. He helps businesses tell their story.