Walking the Uncomfortable Path of Vulnerability
It’s been just over a month since our talented and complex founder, Anthony Gordon Lennox, died.
As we come to terms with life without him, my fellow communication coaches and I at AGL have been asking ourselves: how can we honour him through our work? How can we build on his legacy?
Ant was a pioneer of authentic communication in leadership. He helped politicians, royalty and some of the world’s leading business figures ‘humanise’ their communication.
As the Daily Telegraph wrote in his obituary, “He urged clients instead of assuming a persona to be more personal, to shed the carapace that they often adopted to succeed and instead reveal themselves as human and vulnerable.’
Famously, Ant achieved this when he encouraged David Cameron, in his party leadership bid, to drop the trappings of the well-crafted speech and to speak, instead, in the moment and from the heart:
“Today I want to make a speech about why I want to lead our country. I am afraid it is going to be a bit longer and I haven’t got an autocue and I haven’t got a script, I’ve just got a few notes so it might be a bit messy; but it will be me.”
This authentic leadership style helped Cameron connect with his party and right-wing supporters alike.
As coaches, we know one of the most powerful ways of connecting with someone, even one we assume to be an adversary, is by showing a bit of vulnerability. We might talk to them about something that isn’t working in our business or personal lives or share something we are trying to resolve.
It may not feel comfortable, but if we start there and listen, valuable and progressive conversations can evolve.
Anthony Gordon Lennox compelled the leaders he coached to be braver by being more vulnerable and revealing more of themselves. He knew it led to better results, greater buy-in, and stronger working relationships. All things a leader needs.
So we’ll continue his work coaching leaders to be truly brave in their communication. We aim to spark more honest, substantive conversations. That would be a wonderful legacy for Ant – and it may just help organisations become more progressive and a tad more gentle.