The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten
247: Vulnerability in Startup Leadership
Oct 6, 2017
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In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten point out the importance of vulnerability in leadership, especially with startups. Now, more than ever before, vulnerability is an important part of building a company’s culture and is also the means to building trust in one’s leadership. Listen to how being vulnerable can show a leader’s honesty and authenticity. You’ll also find out what is equally important to being vulnerable—showing a commitment to NOT giving up.
Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:25 – Vulnerability for those running startups is one of those important topics that entrepreneurs should talk about
01:07 – It is the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally
01:49 – It’s an interesting topic because in leadership, people want to communicate and display strength
03:14 – Back then, vulnerability in leadership was not even a topic
03:41 – Hiten believes that vulnerability is a huge part of leadership—now more than ever before

04:00 – Now, people want to understand how you feel
04:26 – Hiten was forced to understand this when their company faced a problem fundraising
05:10 – His vulnerability helped the whole team deal with it together
05:49 – Admitting faults is a strong level of vulnerability
06:08 – If you’re a leader, you own the problem – you’re accountable for it
06:41 – Vulnerability prevents rumors in a company

06:57 – Vulnerability points to authenticity and trust
07:53 – A leader should have a track record of being honest in communication so his team will spend less time trying to figure out what’s really going on
08:40 – Creating mistrust in your team will result to wasted energy
09:31 – “Vulnerability is a crucial part of honesty and trust in a company”
10:25 – Being vulnerable doesn’t mean being weak
11:24 – Don’t spill your emotions around
12:14 – Spilling emotions at other people causes pain
12:52 – “Vulnerability and being genuine are really related”
14:09 – Many people are just stuck
15:04 – Vulnerability can be a massive display of strength
15:35 – Vulnerability means showing people how hard it is WITHOUT giving up
17:05 – Show that the work is challenging, and, just like them, you also have weaknesses—but, show your team how you deal with those weaknesses
17:47 – Be honest!
19:11 – We’d love to hear your opinion on this topic! Email Steli or Hiten

3 Key Points:

Vulnerability is allowing yourself to be in a position where you can be physically or emotionally attacked or harmed.
Vulnerability plays a huge role in your authenticity and honesty as a leader.
Show that you’re vulnerable, but also show that you’re never going to give up.

Steli Efti:

Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

Hiten Shah:

And this is Hiten Shah. Today, we're going to talk about vulnerability in startups, especially  when you're in a leadership role, or a founder role, or a manager role. This  is something where it's a topic, it's one of those kinds of Steli and I  like to just jump into. We jump into, actually, all the topics, but this one  especially. I think neither of us know where it's going to go. There's a motorcycle  driving by outside, and so I feel vulnerable because of that. Anyways, I think this  is an important topic. This is a very useful topic. Vulnerability is such a big  word. You know what I'm going to do, Steli. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Steli Efti:

God damn it. I was just about to do it to beat you, but I  can't out-Hiten a Hiten, so I'll let you do it.

Hiten Shah:

"Vulnerability is the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked  or harmed either physically or emotionally." Wow.

Steli Efti:

Say that one more time.

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