How Vulnerable a Leader Should You Be?

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With its reporting of how political power is wielded in Washington, the only leadership lessons you’re likely to get from The Washington Post most of the time are case studies of what not to do. But the website’s video interviews with business leaders occasionally offer some positive models, too.

When we reported on the BIF-5 Collaboration Innovation Summit earlier this month, we noted how struck we were by a comment from Saul Kaplan, the event’s “founder and chief catalyst,” who said “innovation requires a vulnerability most people are not comfortable with.” Vulnerability, the willingness to fail and to do so openly, should be a core competency for many leaders, but it is often taken as a sign of weakness.

That’s where the Washington Post video comes in. In it, Paul Schmitz, CEO of the nonprofit Public Allies, discusses how admitting to failings makes you a better leader, not a weaker one. (Warning: there is a brief ad at the beginning of the video.)