There’s an interesting new book for small business owners looking for fresh ideas on how to lead. Although it might sound counter-intuitive at first, The Power of Vulnerability makes a strong argument that effective leaders turn the reins over to their teams to strengthen their businesses.
The Power of Vulnerability
Make Room for Improvement
Small Business Trends spoke with Jeff Manchester who co-authored the book with Barry Kaplan. Manchester started the conversation stressing there’s always room for improvement at the top in any small business.
“I think there’s something that all leadership is in some ways missing. In every organization I go into there’s always an opportunity to deepen trust within the management team and the company itself,” he said.
Find The Personal Piece
Manchester, who has decades of experience as an entrepreneur and business adviser, says a big portion of the modern productivity puzzle is the “personal piece.” Unlocking latent potential in any company is about understanding people on a deep level. It’s a fresh perspective and just as important to a healthy bottom line as a good line of products.
“A small business can’t maximize performance until they find a way to deepen connections and alignments with the organization,” he said
Make Workers INpowered
The book outlines a plan to shift your small business culture. Manchester has worked with more than 1000 presidents and CEOs. He says the centerpiece of any new business culture should include the INpowering concept.
“This is about harnessing the power of what’s inside each of us. We all have a perspective that comes from factors like where we were brought up and our education, as well as the work and life experiences we’ve had ” he explained. Manchester says it’s important for small businesses to draw on this innovative reservoir in each team member.
One of the linchpins is creating an atmosphere where people feel safe to be authentic.
“INpowerment is that personal cultural connection that allows us to feel safe enough to share in our organization,” said Manchester.
Strive for Authenticity
Keeping things real is critical. A good business culture allows you to ask questions when you don’t have the answers and challenge the boss when you think it’s appropriate. Authenticity is about encouraging team members to be themselves.
Everything rests on a culture where team members and employees feel safe taking a risk. That’s were the other building block, vulnerability, comes in. Manchester says although it might seem at first being vulnerable is akin to weakness, that’s not the case.
“It’s about being able to show up and ask for help because you don’t have all the answers. Vulnerability is about being able to take the risk to challenge the boss or even put thoughts before the group,” Manchester says. “Teams have to be willing to take a risk.”
Gather the Ingredients
One of the other major ingredients that allows everything else to interact is a small business culture that rests on psychological safety. The Power of Vulnerability outlines the steps that are necessary to guarantee the atmosphere where a team’s potential builds on this idea.
Seek Psychological Safety
“Psychological safety is about being comfortable enough to share your thoughts and opinions and not be judged,” said Manchester.
Unlocking the power within each team member is the end goal that will benefit small business.
“If we begin to do that together as a team, we make the best decisions together as an organization,” he said.