2 Key Leadership Behaviours Self-Examination and Vulnerability (2 Things You May Not Know About Servant Leaders)

Being a servant leader is not easy. For one thing the term “servant” in many cases illicits a negative connotation. Servant leaders are also regarded as leaders who cannot lead with purpose and with authority. There is a perception that servant leaders are not “real” leaders. But I don’t agree with this perception because servant leaders demonstrate 2 things you may not know about and many leaders steer clear of. These 2 key leadership behaviours, self-examination and vulnerability are used consistently by servant leaders to lead with confidence and purpose.


Servant leaders are on a steady and faithful search for self-examination. They are constantly looking to change and form their servant’s heart to humbly serve not for their own benefit but for the benefit of others.

Putting the needs of others before their own needs is not easy to do yet servant leaders do this well. These selfless leaders openly lead with authenticity, with respect and with an intentional purpose. They are not afraid to self-examine, admit and apologize for their mistakes.


Servant leaders are also not afraid to show courage and strength by demonstrating vulnerability. Dr. Brene Brown shares that being vulnerable requires one to “show up and be seen, to ask for what you need, to talk about how you’re feeling, to have the hard conversations.” It means taking off masks and not being worried about what image or type of leader you wish to project. It means openness and authenticity. It means being your true self.

And there really is not anything easy about demonstrating these. In fact, it may be the hardest thing that leaders can do because they are being “real”. And being “real” is uncomfortable at times. It is uncomfortable to admit mistakes and apologize and it is uncomfortable to genuinely communicate your feelings.

Yet, as Seth Godin shares, “if you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you are not reaching your potential.” And I would add you are not reaching and influencing the people you are leading. For your courage in demonstrating vulnerability gives permission for others to do so. In fact doing so strengthens your leadership and does not hinder it.

I do not know what you think about servant leaders. But don’t discount them because when they do self-examination and show vulnerability they can be effective influential leaders who do realize their potential even when it doesn’t feel quite right.

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