I have decided to lead from a place of vulnerability. For years, this seemed like an unsettling approach to leadership, particularly leading an organization such as a church. After all, the repercussions of vulnerability are terrifying. We’ve all received “negative feedback” when we’ve been too vulnerable with our lives from the stage. Alternatively, times where our honesty allowed others to question our leadership. It’s interesting that we have the idea that strong leaders are reserved, closed off, and irreproachable. Yet, I would suggest that leading towards those qualities is weak leadership. It’s weak leadership because you’re leading from a place of fear rather than a place of truth. It’s weak leadership because you’re perpetuating an image of hierarchy, which just creates followers, not leader multipliers. It takes guts to lead from a place of vulnerability.
Vulnerability in leadership takes away the hierarchy and places communal effort at the forefront. When we lead from a place of openness, we’re recognizing that our status is only as important as our mission. In other words, we are able to place the mission of the organization before the mission of self. In return, by lowering the status of self—we are elevating the status of those around us as fellow leaders rather than mere followers.
Imagine if you opened yourself up and revealed some of your failures to people that you lead—if you admitted that you were susceptible to the same feelings as every other human. Something supernatural takes place when we can show people that our leadership comes from a place of humility. Soon, the idea of teamwork takes presidents over the organization rather than a single person’s vision. Soon, the head leader is on equal foot with those that she is leading.