Leadership is Vulnerability

Leadership is Vulnerability

Vulnerability is a trait not always connected with leadership yet I would offer it is one of the most important. Like the lizard, sometimes we tend to hide in the “bushes”; showing our true self is sometimes seen as a sign of weakness. In your role as a leader, when was the last time you allowed your vulnerable side to shine? Being vulnerable invites others in, allows us to support each other. When we support we are part of, when we are part of we belong. The nature of human beings is to belong, to be in community. Vulnerability in leadership promotes belonging which contributes to creating community.



  1. Ann Deaton  October 18, 2012

    Love your comments about the value of vulnerability to leaders. I think this is just beginning to be discussed. I’m curious about the image of the lizard you chose to illustrate this concept. How do you see this picture capturing vulnerability?

    • JICTImages  October 24, 2012

      Thanks for your comment. Re the choice of the lizard image … it’s all about perspective. From my perspective, the lizard (chameleon type) can blend with the environment so that the “true” colors are not evident, in other words hide. Leaders can do the same … when it may be embarrassing or self deprecating to be vulnerable, leaders can choose to “blend” … not display their vulnerability “true” colors.

      And as I write this, i realize that the other function of “blending” may be going with the flow vs. stepping out and taking a risk. Vulnerability certainly comes into play in risk taking. When stepping out, there is risk which means a leader may fail or be wrong or unsuccessful. To be willing to take that risk, a leader must be willing to be vulnerable thus not “blend”.

      Another characteristic of some lizards is the ability to shed their tail (I do not know if the one pictured is that type yet it fit for me) which allows them to retain autonomous. Leaders who choose to remain autonomous detach in order to protect and not appear vulnerable. When a leader is not fully engaged and connected to those they lead, trust is almost always lacking … it is almost impossible to be vulnerable without trust.

      I’m interested to hear your response to the lizard image and your thoughts re how it does or does not resonate with vulnerability. Please share more!


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