Lead with your flaws

Adam Grant in his bestselling book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World suggests leading with our flaws is a more powerful way to impact an audience, sell an idea, and deepen relationships. 

He gives four reasons why:

1. Disarms the audience. 

When people hear about a struggle, flaw, or why something won’t, or didn’t work, communication barriers fall down. Why?

Humans are wired to find flaws in people, things, situations, and naturally are skeptical. 

Leading with your flaws puts people at ease became they already don’t want to like you or the product.

2. It makes you look smart. 

Flaws make you look smart because you’ve thought about things. Grant gives an example of when a person leaves a review for a book and/or product. If the review is glowing and there’s no critique we haven’t thought about it long enough. 

But if the end of the review gives a couple ways it could be improved… they look smart. 

Nothing is perfect and if someone never shares the flaws it appears they are not all that smart. 

If someone is pitching an idea or product and does not do the hard work of showing the flaws. They obviously have no intention of making it better in the future.

3. It makes you more trustworthy. 

People who never show weakness, struggle, or flaws… are questionable. Why? Everyone has flaws and people who don’t talk about them are liars. When you lead with flaws people are more willing to trust you. 

If I only hear victory and never defeat I know the person is not living in reality. Their not trustworthy.

4. Leaves audience with a more favorable response to the message, product, or idea.

Start with the flaws upfront there’s a good chance people will see you and/or the message more favorably. Why? 

If the serious flaws are already named people are more apt to see the message in a good light. In most cases they will downplay the flaws because you already named them. 

Nothing is perfect and everything is broken. When the presenter names the flaws it puts the hearer at ease. They know the flaws can be overcome and in many cases made better. 

I wonder how applicable these ideas could be in different arenas of life?

Pastors: share your flaws and struggles to bring the congregation down to the human level. Too many pastors preach/teach like they have it altogether. 

Salesman: tell the customer why the flaws in your product are not a deal killer. Rather, an opportunity for your company to grow and make it better. 

Parents: tell your kids why mother’s and father’s need grace and splatter egg on their face often. Watch your children begin to relate on a deeper level with you knowing perfection is a mythical idea. 

Spouses/partners: when you share openly your flaws and acknowledge defects… you can connect more deeply with your spouse. They are not dumb and see them anyway. Don’t be liars and allow flaws to be something avoided. Celebrate them and laugh at how often you fall on your face. 

Lead with your flaws. You’ll be glad you did. And, if you’re like me, it’s not hard to do.