Summary: Four groups of Undergraduate Students, Faculty, and Staff gathered over dinner in the Autumn Room as a part of the President’s Leadership Series on Monday, February 25, 2019, to discuss Vulnerable Leadership.

Overview and highlights of our Call to Conversation:

  • There was a certain level of power that we gave vulnerability; the power of not knowing and saying ” I don’t know”, the power of accepting criticism from peers, the power of recognizing our own limitations, the power of leaning into discomfort, and most importantly the power of being self-aware enough to know that vulnerability is not a weakness, but necessary for effective leadership and relationship-building.
  • Vulnerability requires courage, both in the forms of admitting mistakes to others, as well to yourself.
  • Being vulnerable also requires a willingness to surrender trying to completely control the external world.  Instead, one should sometimes attempt to change the inner self, or what is within.
  • The importance of remembering that people can express their vulnerabilities in different ways and at different times. Some individuals may gradually, with time, become more vulnerable with their friends while others may feel more comfortable being vulnerable with a complete stranger.
  • Nothing exposes character more than the way you treat people you don’t think you need.” -Pastor John Gray
  • Being vulnerable is human and allows us to connect with others
  • Vulnerability helps spark conversations
  • Opening up to others, so others can open up to you
  • Vulnerability can be uncomfortable, but it is what allows us to learn
  • Some of the qualities that we discussed: openness, humility, resilience, empathy
  • We talked at length about the positives and problems with vulnerability, and the contexts (both cultural and local) in which we should strive to be vulnerable, or challenge others to be vulnerable.
  • We discussed in our own lives how vulnerability has played a crucial role in shaping our relationships and our respective character
  • Finally, we discussed possible limits on vulnerability and how circumstance impacts within what boundaries, and how you share your story.