What does Standing Alone as a leader REALLY mean?

In Brené Brown’s most recent book Daring Greatly she debunks the myths of vulnerability.  Myth #4 is “We Can Go It Alone”.   Not needing help and doing it alone is confused as strong leadership in many organizational cultures. Standing alone is one of the Lominger© competencies and is found in a number of 360 feedback surveys.  Your belief about what standing alone really means can result in highly effective and connected leadership behaviors or standing at the top of the hill alone with no one there to lead.

Standing alone does not mean going it alone.  It does mean trusting yourself and taking the risk to let yourself be seen, standing firm in your beliefs even when your internal voice challenges you with, “What if I am wrong? What if I make a mistake –what will people think?  I’m really not smart enough. This is really hard.”  

I watched a leader last week take on a task that required the leader alone to make a decision that would impact his entire team.  It was hard.  He had to face his fear of creating disruption, of hurting others and of making the wrong decision.  He did what was required of him and made the decision alone.  He also had strong connections and solid relationships with his team members and let them see that it was a painful decision to make.  The team later shared that because their leader let them see that it was hard, even a bit painful, they were motivated to support him and each other in the aftermath. 

You can stand alone and be vulnerable at the same time.  In fact, knowing when you feel vulnerable and having healthy ways of managing that vulnerability is one of the most powerful ways to connect and to lead.  Myth #2 “I Don’t Do Vulnerability”.  Yes you do.  The question is:  How?

How do you lead when you feel vulnerable?   How does embracing your vulnerability make you a more effective leader?

2 thoughts on “What does Standing Alone as a leader REALLY mean?

  1. It is tough to make these types of decisions. For me its how we communicate them and how we treat the people which makes all the difference. Treating people dignity costs us nothing, but it’s often forgotten.

    Also, many bosses i have seen do these things have tried to do it in a way that easiest for them and not easies for the people that were impacted. If people see that kind of behaviour respect will be lost forever.

  2. I am now seeking to add sobriety with no outside influence but my own will. There are challenges and they include living my own legacy not that of two fathers never there to reward my efforts. I alone divorced continue seeking to be a better dad,a best friend to my broken brothers, I’m still my ex-wife’s friend, I’m now running for political office for a culture I honor. I’m Navajo,I’m HIV positive, I’m trying to live sustainably, I’m still an artist, I’m still a man with fewer friends then a year ago, I’m getting to know my strengths and I still doubt but I know my humanity, I stand firm in a Creator who regards all as he created to exist not diminish. I am me standing Alone and can smile again.

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