Vulnerable leaders lead best

When we think of leaders, we immediately picture smarter, stronger, established statures. From early on we are led to believe that there are two categories of people in this life. The ones called to lead, and the ones that will follow. That we are born with the strength required for the function or that we are not. But for having met true leaders in business and in life alike, I have found that their unique charisma was most of the time acquired not inherent. And that at the root of all their greatness and courage was actually their vulnerability, not a supernatural gift. And it was that very softness that inspired me and others not only to follow, but to lead.

There is tremendous authority when combining strength and vulnerability. And this combined leadership stirs us up in three very positive ways.

1. It helps us stay the course.

Vulnerable leadership is found in introspection. True leaders constantly question their motivations and actions, so that the course they set us on, is sound. And in the middle of the storm we feed in their graceful energy and their assured confidence. Their self-awareness allows them to unlock smart and fast solutions to ensure the group can flow smoothly and surely. With them we feel safe, and we learn to look beyond our circumstances.

2. It drives us.

Vulnerable leaders become naturally comfortable with questioning themselves. They exploit their personal experience to radiate confidence all around them. Knowing the inside out of their strengths and weaknesses allows them to step out of fear, and to refocus on the positive. The depth of their characters keeps them going relentlessly, and make us thrive as we aspire to resemble them.

3. It makes us better humans.

True leaders don’t live for approval of others nor seek recognition. But rather they move with graceful gratitude towards others. The peace that radiates from their self-confidence makes us want to lead and guide others. Great leaders are able to detach themselves from their own feelings with humbleness for the greater good. They have an unspoken, noble softness that encourages us to be better, to behave more ethically and to rise to excellence.

So if you are already in a position of leadership, do dare to show your vulnerability. Tremendous authority and impact will come out of it. If you are on the path towards leadership, do soak in the grace and elegance that true, vulnerable leaders emanate — they will make you want to be the best version of yourself, not just for yourself, but for others too.