At the recommendation of a colleague, I recently read the book, Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Customer Loyalty by Patrick Lencioni. The book is phenomenal and with simple elegance unlocks client relationship fears that will transform how I serve both prospects and clients.
While reflecting on the book over the last few days, I realized that the “naked” approach to working with customers can be equally transformative for leaders in every walk of life.
We have convinced ourselves that success in life comes when we have it all together, have all the answers and “never let them see you sweat.”
The truth is we are highly attractive and deemed worthy of following when we are vulnerable, own up to mistakes, ask dumb questions and don’t take ourselves too seriously.
As Lencioni says in the book, there is a difference between vulnerability and incompetence. If I show up everyday not knowing how to do an important part of my job, that’s not a matter of vulnerability, but of competence.
Despite what we tell ourselves, there’s no such thing as too much vulnerability as a leader. An authentic, honest, service-minded approach to those we are leading will create greater loyalty and is what folks are looking for in a world where “reality” has lost its meaning.
I’ve unpacked one of Lencioni’s fears that sabotage, along with two of his strategies, to combat them from a leadership perspective.
FEAR: Looking Inferior
STRATEGY # 1 TO SHED FEAR: Take a bullet
Nakedness as a service provider means humbly and selflessly taking some of the burden off the client in a challenging situation by letting the heat come to you. The same principle applies for a leader with his or her team. Nakedness for a leader is to “fall on the grenade” for the team and make life a little easier under certain circumstances.
STRATEGY #2 TO SHED FEAR: Admit your weaknesses and limitations
For service providers and leaders alike, nakedness means coming clean when mistakes are made. As leaders, when we admit mistakes, we are implicitly giving those we serve the permission to make mistakes also. The opens up a whole world of creativity, innovation and calculated risk taking. These benefit everyone.
In the case of both strategies, you create a loyalty and commitment that is priceless.
I invite you to pick up the book and see what “getting naked” can mean for your work and life.