One of the stereotypes many have of the mega-successful business titans is that they are born to succeed; that they have all the answers, basically from the get-go, and cast a long shadow that envelops everyone around them.
Well, there’s one super-successful guy who thinks it’s vulnerability, of all things, that makes for a champ in business.
Howard Schultz gave up his role as CEO of Starbucks back in April 2017, but during the 30 years he was at the helm, the company grew to have over 25,000 locations throughout 75 countries.
And what does this business giant see as one of the most underrated leadership qualities?
That’s right – vulnerability.
As reported by CNBC, Schultz recently said, “Building a company is a lonely place sometimes because you’re imprinted, especially as a man, of not demonstrating vulnerability. And I think one of the most undervalued characteristics of leadership is vulnerability and asking for help.”
Clarifying what he means, Schultz added, “When you’re vulnerable and ask for help, people come towards you. I’ve tried to do that every step of the way and be honest and truthful about what I know, what I don’t and most importantly, what I believe.”
It’s a highly useful point. For many, getting ahead of the curve as a leader is as much about admitting what you do not know as it is actually knowing things. Obviously, the goal is to come to learn as much as possible, but that takes time, and when you request help and guidance in a sober, meaningful way, those around will come to respect you without losing their inclination to follow you. It’s an important way to gain knowledge even as you are gaining influence.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large