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This Exercise Will Show Why You Should Embrace Vulnerability as a Leader

Leadership coach
Image credit: Gabriela Elena Blaga - Leadership Coach
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Gabriela Elena Blaga is a Romanian Leading Change Strategist and Leadership Coach. She has a background in business administration and management, with various leading roles in international corporations. In the past six years, she has been mentoring business men and women to become the founders of tomorrow, with a focus on authenticity, and turning weaknesses into strengths. 

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In July 2020, I was crafting the content for a webinar I delivered to the Professional Women’s Network in Romania, and I was looking for a title. Since my corporate times, I like to use acronyms to name concepts, processes, and practices. This time, I was searching for something to connect our inner strengths with the VUCA environment in which we are living.

That’s how I came up with the unique equation of VUCA² = Vulnerability + Uniqueness + Courage + Authenticity.

Of course, you will ask me:

“What’s in it for me, the tech entrepreneur or start-up founder?”

And I will ask you:

“Before being a tech CEO, or a team leader, who are you?”

What is the goal of VUCA²?

I’m guessing you are more than your business or the organization you run. You are first a human being who wants to contribute to the DNA of the world through your uniqueness.

In my view, being unique equals embracing vulnerability, authenticity, and courage. These personal facets intertwine to help you face the challenges presented by the VUCA world with assertiveness.

VUCA² is a remedy that you can use to better outlive in an era of globalization. While there are many positive dimensions to a globalized business arena, leaders within the 21st-century world stage confront dilemmas that call for courage, resilience, and a flexible mindset to choose well amid great Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity.

Embracing VULNERABILITY as a strength

I don’t think there’s a general recipe for increasing the level of personal courage. But the path towards your greatest level of courage reveals itself at the moment when you know WHO YOU ARE.

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In my case, it was the moment I understood that vulnerability is both my anchor and my North Star. Vulnerability gives me great strength, inspiration, and power. There was a time when I considered Vulnerability to be a weakness—yet it became the key that activated my Courage.

Vulnerability is a force that:

  • Allows you to feel more connected to your team, family, and friends, thus cultivating healthy connections.
  • Helps you improve your relationships, allowing you to be emotionally available.
  • Enables you to be authentic and honest with yourself and others
  • Expands your creativity.

Two years ago, a business leader I collaborated with shared an interesting insight. He told me:

“Gabriela, for me, Vulnerability is the normal state many of us have unfortunately lost to adapt to the digital world.”

Pretty powerful, right?

Have the COURAGE to feel the fear

For more than two years, we have been shaken by the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of the environment. This period brings up big fears; some new and some familiar.

Fear is an inevitable emotion in our lives. It often appears whenever a change happens—whether internal or external. At the same time, these periods of struggle act as an engine that pushes us outside our comfort zones and feed our innovation powers. So, we best not run from our fears.

My life experiences have taught me to dialogue with my fears; to listen to and understand them. In the process, I gained a transformative gift: COURAGE.

I much enjoyed how one of my business connections defined Courage as the power of being authentic today in a copy-paste world. Some time ago, Alexandra – a BPO team leader I coached, told me what VUCA2 means to her.

“Trying to describe what vulnerability, uniqueness, courage, and authenticity mean to me, I realized that I can’t talk about one without the other.
For me, vulnerability means compassion for myself and others. Not everyone dares to be imperfect. We are all trying to show that we live a fulfilled and happy life—but it is difficult to admit that we are fragile, make wrong decisions, and are often not good with others.
There are rare occasions when I think of myself as being brave, and I continue to risk being loved, accepted, or rejected. There are times when I feel braver, and I dare to do more. I try to discover my talents and be authentic through my imprint on the universe.”

The VUCA² exercise

VUCA² (Vulnerability + Uniqueness + Courage + Authenticity) intertwines to the point of overlapping because one cannot exist without the other. Being a true leader means, in my humble opinion, manifesting all these qualities to ignite the VUCA² engine in the people you are leading.

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In a world, you can be anything, start with being Vulnerable, Unique, Courageous, and Authentic. Be a VUCA² champion and the rest will unfold.

I could go on and on in my pursuit to convince you about the incredible force of VUCA². Not this time☺.

Instead, I’m inviting you to play with VUCA and VUCA² creatively; you will need some paper and a pen to write your ideas, thoughts, and emotions. Yes, the old way of writing is more powerful compared to a digital approach; it creates a specific connection between the brain and heart and activates your imagination.

#1 Mini VUCA Exercise

  1. What’s a situation you’d like to better understand or improve by the end of 2022?
  2. Briefly describe this situation through the VUCA lens. How Is Your Chosen Situation:
  • Volatile?
  • How can you calm things down?
  • Uncertain?
  • What ARE you certain about, especially the positive?
  • Complex?
  • What key aspect can you simplify?
  • Ambiguous?
  • How can you enhance clarity?

#2 Mini VUCA² Exercise 

(questions from my book VUCA² – Tap The Power Within You)

  • When was the last time you faced Uncertainty with Bravery?
  • What are the main messages around Vulnerability in your workplace?
  • What do you fear the most?
  • How does Vulnerability feel for you emotionally?
  • When was the last time when you thought you were Courageous?
  • What gave you Courage then?

From the four VUCA² qualities, select the ONE you’d most like to strengthen in your life until the end of this year.

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