Vulnerable Leadership

Dr. Relly Nadler: Today, we have Lisa Marie Platske around vulnerable leadership.

Cathy, welcome to the show.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Thank you Relly. I’m so excited today to speak to Lisa Marie Platske. I think that we are going to have a very exciting show because we have so much in common with our guest in terms of coaching, practical applications that she’s going to share with us today, and certainly it follows our theme going into 2022 and beyond as well. Which is emotional brilliance.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Let me just say a quick word about our guest Lisa. Like you said, Cathy, we have a lot in common.

Lisa, I love that even on your website you use the word brilliant a lot. We have been using that for a while. We have had a lot of fun with it. Lisa is going to talk about vulnerable leadership.

Who is Lisa Marie? She is an award-winning leadership expert in human behavior. She’s received accolades from the White House, the United States Small Business Administration, and the International Alliance for Women. She has also been recognized as one of the top 100 women making a difference in the world.

We are hoping that we can pick her brain to help you make a difference in the world. She left her federal law enforcement career to be the CEO of this, her international leadership development company, Upside Thinking.

She delivers presentations worldwide sharing research on how vulnerability and forgiveness are critical to exceptional leadership as well as her proven seven-step leadership model that focuses on connection, positioning, and executive presence.

A couple of other key things; she’s the author of seven books that have been in five different countries. The international recognition for the alliance of women we talked about being a top 100 in the world making a difference.

So, before I bring on Lisa, people can find her at and also

So, Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa Marie Platske: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’m so excited.

Dr. Relly Nadler: We can hear it in your voice.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: We are excited you’re here with us.

Lisa Marie Platske: I really am. The two of you are just powerhouses so I’m like, “I am a buzz.”

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Oh, you’re sweet.

Let’s kick off the show by talking about this pet fox.

Lisa Marie Platske: Alright. So, the pet fox is actually a neighborhood fox that when I moved from Miami with my husband to this area. We were shocked that we are less than ten miles – I’d say probably about seven miles from Washington D.C. – and there are deer and animals, foxes, raccoons, you name it in this urban neighborhood. We have this fox that comes to visit us literally comes to our front door, comes to the back of the house and I sit outside, and I consider him to be our pet fox.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Adorable.

Dr. Relly Nadler: That’s beautiful.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Listen, with that definition, I think I have a lot of pets that I don’t really know about.

Let’s just talk about who has been your main leadership influences, Lisa Marie.

Lisa Marie Platske: I would say that my main leadership influence started out with my grandfather. Just learned so much about him. He was a quiet man who exuded leadership just by his sense of being and was probably more what he didn’t say than what he did say.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Beautiful.

Dr. Relly Nadler: So, with that. This idea of vulnerability I think got more popularized by Brené Brown, but it sounds like you’re in that arena. Tell us a little bit about how that came about for you and what it really mean to be a vulnerable leader.

Lisa Marie Platske: Sure. Well, vulnerability for me is not something that I ever wanted to get into. It’s not the definition of vulnerability is the state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, physically and emotionally. So, there is no part of me that goes, “Oh that sounds really great, let’s have that happen.”

Vulnerability started, this journey of mine started in 8th grade. Had a huge impact when I was in federal law enforcement in 1998 and came up again about ten years ago when my marketing director shared that I was unrelatable. So, this has been a lifelong journey for me.

The parts in each of those intersections, 8th grade, in law enforcement, and in my business, are significant moments and experiences, and milestones.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: So, Lisa Marie, as you’re talking about this it just strikes me that many of us – Relly, this includes you too – who have taken our experiences and applied them to our coaching world have often found that there are seminal pieces that are written by various and sundry people who’ve just by virtue of the fact that they have written about something are thought to be an expert in an area when in fact many of us have had mutually powerful experiences and have used them in our work but we haven’t had the opportunity necessarily to stop and create the content that other people are getting notoriety for.

So, I just want to acknowledge that this vulnerability and the idea of being a vulnerable person is so important for all of us as coaches. It’s nice that people have popularized the idea. It sounds to me, Lisa Maria, that you have really found a nugget here that creates a different action from just someone bearing their soul.

Can you talk a little bit about that?

Lisa Marie Platske: Yeah. There is a difference. Dr. Cathy, I really appreciate you speaking about applied science versus research; both are important. Our own stories matter. So, vulnerability, conversations around it where someone will speak about you want someone to share everything or bear their soul. Vulnerability doesn’t mean that you disclose everything about yourself to everyone you meet. You share personally. You do it in a way that is intentional, not in a way that spills everything out that you’ve ever experienced.

When I speak about vulnerability and putting it into action, I share the stories not because they are ones that are comfortable – not at all – some of the stories that I’ve shared on stage or in my work or even with coaching clients one-on-one are ones that make me still a little queasy in the stomach. They are not comfortable yet at the same time, they serve a purpose. The purpose is to allow others to be able to be in the moment, to draw from the experiences, the journey that I’ve walked, and be able to use it in their own journey of wanting to be a leader that’s worth following.

I look at it as it’s often time confusing. Where someone feels that vulnerability is just about putting everything out there.

You can listen to the entire interview above by clicking on the play button.

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