Vulnerability is not a sign of a confident leader


There is a big push for authentic leaders to show their “vulnerability” and that only then will they be able to lead effectively. I disagree.

Too much of that push ignores the true nature of vulnerability, and fails to discern between it and the desirable characteristics of compassion and honesty.

Looking at the meaning of “vulnerable” it would place any leader in a position of weakness.  Leaders always need to show they are in a position of strength.



exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”we were in a vulnerable position”

(of a person) in need of special care, support, or protection because of age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect.

A confident leader has the all-important role of designing and holding on to a powerful and clear vision that others will follow. They need to communicate that vision and be 100% confident in all the decisions they make. Showing signs of weakness or vulnerability does not instill a sense of confidence in those being led — and can have undermining (and devastating) effects on any business.

A company’s culture is set from the top and ripples down through the rest of the organisation via attitudes, conversations, decisions and activities.

If the leader is perceived as weak and vulnerable then soon the whole organisation will follow suit and that will become a part of the “brand” to the external marketplace and community.

But even when they ditch showing vulnerability, leaders should never add compassion and honesty to the ‘trash’ file. Those two characteristics are crucial for leadership… it is weakness that has no place.

So instead of falling apart and showing that you too have a “weak” side (that is being vulnerable and ready for the predators to jump), your followers instead want to see leaders who are strong but show compassion and are honest about where they are headed.  




noun: compassion; plural noun: compassions

sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.


A ruthless leader is not a loved leader. However a leader who can show their compassionate side even in the smallest way will become not only a leader but an example to those who are following. This comes from within, you genuinely care about people or you don’t.




The quality of being honest.


Being honest doesn’t mean you lose the filter we all should have — and especially a leader.  It means being honest with people around you and behind you: on where you are going, how you’re going to get there. If there is a problem, rule of thumb is to, yes, be open about it — but never discuss a problem without turning the discussion to your confident solutions. Again, people want a confident leader not someone who looks like they will fall apart at the slightest problem.

So be careful the next time someone is trying to get you to show vulnerability in a position of power. Instead, take the view that a strong confident leader is compassionate and honest.

About Amanda Rose

Founder and CEO of The Business Woman Media. Amanda Rose is also the only 'strategic connector', a brand strategist, keynote speaker and host of Amanda Rose TV. Connect with Amanda Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or visit

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