Vulnerability in Leadership

Is it ever okay to show vulnerability to those we are leading? At the surface one might say, “Yes, it shows a person is real,” – although I strongly suspect we might change our opinion after further consideration.

Vulnerability is displayed when we allow those we lead to see that we are easily wounded and  therefore open to attack or damage. When we are vulnerable we don’t take criticism well either and therefore loose our ability to lead.

Don’t get me wrong, leaders are vulnerable they are human, but they should never show their vulnerability to someone who looks to them for wisdom and direction. People want their leaders to be strong and courageous.

So when is it okay for a leader to show his/her vulnerability? Well think about a couple of  biblical leaders: David who following the death of his son went in the house of the Lord and worshipped (2 Samuel 12:20; Ps 51), Jesus who was in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane while praying to the Father (Luke 22:41-44). Christian leaders should take their weaknesses and wounds to the Lord Who is the only One that can bring healing to them. Leaders should also surround themselves with other strong leaders who can offer support during times of distress.

When leaders don’t deal with their own insecurities, they become controlling and manipulative… and people will eventually tire of this pattern and find another leader.

The best thing to do is lead with love; lead by compassion, lead with grace, be a servant leader to those you’ve been entrusted with to lead. When you are vulnerable take your fear and insecurity to God.

Will there be hurt and pain in leadership? Absolutely, but learn to handle it appropriately and you won’t be mopping up a mess every other day.


~ by Charlana Kelly on August 1, 2010.

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