The most important four words a leader can say (2017)
“Vulnerability loops are most powerful in moments of stress…”people either dig in and become defensive, and start justifying, and a lot of tension gets created.””
“When you think about great leadership, you tend to think about big moments: daring decisions and inspiring speeches; moments when a great leader shows the path forward.
“But in my research, I kept seeing leaders deliver something different. They weren’t big moments, but rather little moments of confession, when they admitted to a mistake or a weakness. Dave Cooper, a Navy SEAL, put it this way: “The most important words a leader can say is, ‘I screwed that up.’””
Moments of small confessions could be thought of as a “…vulnerability loop, and it works like this: Person #1 vulnerable, and admits a mistake or a shortcoming. This allows Person #2 to do the same, creating high-candor exchanges that drive performance and build trust. Vulnerability loops determine whether a group is going to be about merely appearing strong, or about actually facing hard truths and learning together.”
By “…giving everyone in the group permission to tell the truth, …high-candor exchanges [are generated, driving] improvement and [creating] a shared mental model on how to perform together.
“They shift the focus away from self-protective instincts, and toward the truly important questions: what’s really happening here? How can we get better together?”
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