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Vulnerability and Leadership

More leadership has failed from a lack of intimacy than from any other cause. Leaders, no matter how brilliant, cut their tenures short or accomplish less than they might otherwise when they fail to establish close relationships with a few key people, a core of their followers. I have been in situations where followers, including myself, sought a closer relationship with a leader—not for personal gain, but for his sake and for the sake of the enterprise—only to be rebuffed. Every time a leader tries to go it alone, something less than the best occurs.
- Bob Briner
(Source : Leadership Lessons of Jesus)

It is an insightful observation. Many leaders clearly find it difficult to be vulnerable with others for two possible reasons. The first is the "big man" syndrome that we so often see in African political leadership. The leader feels that he towers above everyone - sort of like the village chief. It is almost as if being vulnerable means a reduction in that assumed status. This sort of attitude develops when a person views themselves through the prism of their position rather than through the eyes of God. We become the position rather than regarding the self as distinct.  

The second reason is what I call the challenge of inadequacy. When we feel that we are not quite up to our responsibilities, the natural reaction is to close ourselves from being more intimate with others. We don't want to tell them we are struggling with sin because we feel our world will crumble and everyone will look down on us. The antidote for that is to recognise that true adequacy is only found in God. If we have repented and come to faith in Jesus Christ we will be more open about our weaknesses and our leadership will grow!

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

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