Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Servant Leadership and Vulnerability: Do You Get It?

Deeply seen and known? Are you kidding me? That is some scary stuff to a lot of people. Heck, it is scary to me, too. But it is now a very necessary part of my journey.

The Center for Servant Leadership, a division of the Pastoral Institute, defines servant leadership as a “lifelong journey that includes the discovery of oneself, a desire to serve others and a commitment to lead.”

As you can probably tell by now, I have become a huge admirer of Dr. Brene Brown. She was on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday this past weekend, and I watched every bit of it.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I have told just about everyone that I know about her work. I also forwarded her YouTube video to several of my acquaintances. That is why I was stunned when a couple of them asked me, “What does Brene Brown’s video on vulnerability have to do with servant leadership?”

I wanted (I’m a first-third assertive who doesn’t like conflict, so I am working on this aspect of my vulnerability) to ask them so bad, “Well, what do you think servant leadership is?”

I have learned that most people don’t know what servant leadership is. Yes, they know the surface-level stuff—trust, self-awareness, humility, listening, etc. Those are the basics—the easy stuff. The qualities or characteristics are more educational in nature. They make you feel good. They are more or less a part of the elevator speech. They don’t make you think.

The true essence of servant leadership will unsettle you just like it did me when I began my journey over a decade ago. I looked in the mirror and  I didn't like what I saw.

That is why I am taken with the topic of "Vulnerability" because it forces you to look deep within yourself. As Dr. Brown points out, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Deeply seen and known? Are you kidding me? That is some scary stuff to a lot of people. Heck, it is scary to me, too. But it is now a very necessary part of my journey.

So, with everything that I have been writing about regarding servant leadership and the limited time that I have been posting about vulnerability, I have a question for you. Do you get it? Do you understand how you can't have one without the other?

I am going to write more about this topic, vulnerability, because I think it is groundbreaking. I am thinking that it will be the featured topic in our July newsletter, iServe2Change, so stay tuned…

Finally, I want to thank those of you who commented on yestersay's post. I have been on an incredible journey. I have some good days, and I have had some bad days. So, thank you for letting me know that I am connecting with you. It meant a great deal to me. 


  1. I deeply believe that this is very true. But it is limited, as we are limited, to where we are in relation to our development within this ladder of life. Vulnerability is higher up the ladder than I perceive myself to be in regards to the rungs of this particular ladder.

    In common speak, you are further along than me:)which makes it connect more deeply to you than to me.

    1. I am sorry for the delay in getting back with you. Your comment really made me think. I answered you with Wednesday's post.

  2. This is challenging! "servant leadership" is a term that i think is thrown around a lot without people really defining it for themselves. Great post.