Is vulnerability a sign of weakness, or a sign of strength? While we are often taught by culture to be tough and thick-skinned, I believe that vulnerability is a show of profound strength of character.
To be willing to be vulnerable with other people tells others that you confident enough within yourself to do the hard things, own your emotions, and embrace that you don’t know it all.
The Impact of Vulnerability in the Workplace
In a workplace environment, vulnerable leaders make the very best leaders. Take a moment to think about the various bosses and supervisors you’ve had over the course of your career.
- What characteristics defined the best ones?
- What defined the worst?
In my own experience, leaders who were never willing to be vulnerable with their employees, who were never willing to admit fault, were some of the least effective, most incompetent people I’ve ever known. A leader who shows vulnerability is a team player in the purest sense of the phrase.
A person who is vulnerable is a person who is secure, strong, and willing to ask for help to achieve the best results for themselves and everyone around them.
The Greatest Example of Vulnerability
And who can we look to for the most profound example of vulnerability and leadership? Jesus, of course. Jesus was never ashamed of his emotions.
“The gospel writers paint their portraits of Jesus using a kaleidoscope of brilliant “emotional” colors. Jesus felt compassion; he was angry, indignant, and consumed with zeal; he was troubled, greatly distressed, very sorrowful, depressed, deeply moved, and grieved; he sighed; he wept and sobbed; he groaned; he was in agony; he was surprised and amazed; he rejoiced very greatly and was full of joy; he greatly desired, and he loved. In our quest to be like Jesus we often overlook his emotions. Jesus reveals what it means to be fully human and made in the image of God.” -G. Walter Hansen, Christianity Today.
Jesus was deeply real and transparent with His followers. He was humble, kind, and honest. When we are looking to be an exceptional leader (or employee), we need to look no further than Jesus Christ’s example.
When have you experienced another person’s vulnerability in the workplace? Or lack thereof?