You know how Jennifer Lawrence fell at the Oscar’s again?
Let me back up….
Do you know who Jennifer Lawrence is?
She is the second-youngest Best Actress winner, picking up an Oscar last year for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. She was nominated again this year for Hustle.
En route to picking up said Oscar, Jennifer Lawrence fell for the first time.
She literally fell on the stairs leading up to receive her Oscar.
In front of a billion people (not present, watching).
A few weeks ago, again nominated for an Oscar, Lawrence fell again.
This time on the red carpet.
Why does she keep falling?
Jennifer Lawrence keeps falling because she is smart.
She keeps falling so as to appear vulnerable.
To be likable.
A movie star’s worth is determined by their fan base.
By the effective leadership of their fan base.
By appearing vulnerable one time each year, Jennifer Lawrence keeps millions of viewers thinking, “Aww… she really is just like us. Except beautiful, young, rich and constantly in films with the cute guy from The Hangover movies.”
Vulnerability is a critical leadership trait.
A delicate, yet powerful instrument in the leadership toolbox.
Obviously a leader cannot overplay the vulnerability hand.
Then she looks uncoordinated, awkward & weak.
That’s not ideal.
Expert vulnerability must be exercised with care.
Infrequent, but intended for maximum effect.
Maybe only 1% of the time, but on a stage big enough so it receives the attention of the masses.
Like Jennifer Lawrence.
99% of the time she is playing a bow-&-arrow-wielding warrior-poet or demonstrating some of the best acting chops this side of Meryl Streep.
She is the “It Girl” of the moment.
And then she falls.
Million+ Youtube hits.
Blogs are written.
And she goes on leading her tribe.
How does this relate to you?
In construction, there’s more testosterone than a Stallone & Schwarzenegger film (Escape Plan? Meh.)
Plenty of masculinity.
Plenty of machismo.
Strong leaders are needed to lead men.
And the strongest leaders among them know how the appearance of weakness – vulnerability – can be a critical tool in connecting with the working-class tribe.
Be thoughtful in how you wield your vulnerability.
Too busy trying to look tough?
Just trip on the way up to your next Toolbox Talk.
And then own the stage like an A-list movie star.
Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish (and a bit of Polish…) language gap in the construction industry.
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Categories: Jobsite Leadership