Pat Lencioni is a great leadership book writer to include his classic, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (He is also a Christian by the way. Many of the great leadership writers like Zigler and Maxwell are Christian by the way).
In that book, Lencioni says that the first step for a team to become great is for the leader to show vulnerability. For example, you can say to a subordinate. “You do this so much better than me.” or “I am weak in this area. Can you help me?”or “I caused that problem.”
Being Weak is Good?
How does being weak make us strong leaders? Showing weakness builds trust which is a first step for any leader.
Think how much trust Jesus gained with us by his extreme vulnerability. The Bible further states that when I am weak, then I am strong.
I have often shown my weakness to my workers, so I felt I was a natural expert at vulnerability.
Then a marriage counselor using thinking from Susan Johnson’s Created For Connection showed that my not showing vulnerability with my wife was killing her. I needed to learn to say “No wonder you are angry, I ignored your needs again.” I needed to say something like that even this morning as had denied Jo’s success in helping me resolve some hurt and darkness from my childhood yesterday. Ugh. When I take take responsibility for hurting my wife or failing her, then she can reconnect with me more easily after a hurt. Connection comes when you can be warm and understand your spouse at his or her point of need. God made us to need each other and connecting emotionally is so good for us. I never knew before starting to learn EFT from sources like Created for Connection and especially trained counseling in that track.
Connecting and Vulnerability Make a Good Pair
Now, I am reading a book called Connecting by Larry Crab. He, as a Christian, wrote a book called Inside Out that helped change my life at age 26. In Connecting he notes that letting someone strong pull your head to his chest can be the greatest act of strength we can take. Being someone strong who takes the head of someone to your bossom in who we see good is more powerful than a lot of counseling for that person.
Each of these books, and the counseling Jo and I got for marriage helped me be more vulnerable in ways that I am sure makes God smile.
Some of these changes are nearly invisible to me, but enjoyed by my family and people near me. I know I reach out to my family to see how they are more than I did before. I also know that I tell them more about my concerns in a vulnerable way rather then say in a passive agressive way. See also Grace and Truth as these words also need understanding.
How About an Example?
An example of a failure of mine in this regard and a better way. We sat down for dinner that Mom had made. My youngest brought a pack of crackers with her to the table and started to pass them out. I thought she should not do this as the dinner that Mom made was on the table. She offered me one and I said, “I do not want one. Now is not a good time.” My tone and facial expression were like a victim. I should have said, “Put them away till after dinner out of respect for Mom”. I should have said this softly but clearly. My first way was like a disapproving mouse, and the second way like a Dad.
Perhaps I would be a too rule bound Dad but at least not a victim like mouse. By being direct I would be more vulnerable to being called wrong by my wife and teenage kids. By being passive aggressive in a self protective way I am hurt them. Yes, I irritated them and made them feel less secure with me as I was not being direct.
Without God and my family’s love, I never could have crossed the river to see and accept my gap in connecting and vulnerability.