Patrick Lencioni (author of “Getting Naked”)
Samuel Johnson said “People need to be reminded more than instructed.”
Key to humility is understanding the power of vulnerability.
Formal definition of vulnerability (from online Websters):
1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2. open to attack or damage
3. liable to increased penalties but entitled to increased bonuses after winning a game in contract bridge. (LOL)
Society says “avoid suffering at all cost” Pain and suffering are so counter-cultural. In the same way, vulnerability is counter-cultural.
Three fears keeping us from being vulnerable:
1. Fear of losing the business. (Fear of being rejected.)
Jesus was rejected…only 3 people went to his funeral.
Ways to do this:
A. Enter the danger – Be willing to enter into a tough conversation when nobody else is willing to.
B. Speak the kind truth – John Ortberg points out a problem in churches called “terminal niceness.” Kindness comes from empathizing with people and realizing they are just people. It’s selfish of me to not tell someone the truth when it is good for them.
2. Fear of being embarrassed.
When we are serving others we have to do things that could embarrass us. As leaders our job is not to look smart but to help others do better. When people think you are most interested in managing your own image they will not trust you.
Go ahead and ask dumb questions.
Celebrate your mistakes. When you acknowledge your humanity, it is attractive. People want to be around us.
3. Fear of feeling inferior.
The last thing we want to do in leadership is put ourselves in a lower position and have people look down on us. But we need to get comfortable with this.
We have to do the dirty work when it is necessary. Show people you are willing to do whatever it is you are asking them to do.
When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet he put himself in that lower position regardless of what it made him look like – a servant!
Honor your people’s lives. Be genuinely interested in the people you lead. Are you willing to do anything for your people? It’s not about you looking good…it’s about you helping your people any way you can!
Vulnerability is not easy, obviously. We don’t get rewarded for it. But we are called to do it by the most humble and vulnerable leader of all time. We will get rewarded for it a lot. And in those moments when we don’t get rewarded for it, it is then that we should say a prayer of thanksgiving that we get to do it anyway.
Personal Insight: I’ve heard Patrick speak at least two other times at the Summit and every time I am so taken in by what he has to say. This topic of vulnerability is actually something that I believe in and am actually pretty comfortable with. It isn’t easy. In fact, sometimes it really does feel like I’m getting naked – which usually leaves me feeling embarrassed to a certain degree. But that doesn’t seem to stop me. It’s just who I am. I was, however, blown away by the idea that vulnerability plays itself out in how we honor other people and show empathy and true care about what they are going through. I’m not truly being vulnerable if I’m holding on to a fear of being made to feel “inferior.” Wow! How many people have I kept at arms length because I didn’t want them to gain some kind of a foothold over me. In the process I was not serving them at all! I was not being vulnerable based on the definition given above: being susceptible to penalties while also being entitled to rewards. I can’t believe how perfectly Philippians 2 mirrors this idea! It is a great reminder for me to keep my attitude like that of Christ Jesus who made himself nothing so that he could be obedient to death on the cross. The vulnerability proved quite costly for him. But Philippians goes on to say that he earned the reward of being seated at the right hand of the throne of God. This is how I am to lead – as a loving, humble, vulnerable servant, willing to put the servant’s towel around my wrist and give until I cannot give anymore! Lord Jesus, help me lead like you!