This past weekend, one of Canada’s top daily newspapers, the Globe and Mail, outline 46 ways our world is about to change.


What was #2?  


We will embrace vulnerability in leaders…and…I might’ve jumped up and down.  Thank you Sierra Bein

This hugely public declaration is validation for every single love-led leader who has ever been told “you are going to get eaten alive for being so open”.

It is also a shot in the arm to those of us who have been made to feel isolated in their belief that the characteristics of love-led leadership: vulnerability, humility, empathy, accountability, passion, and authenticity are the cornerstones of leadership excellence


Why vulnerability?

Because vulnerability is courage. And courage is what is needed during a crisis.

During a crisis, we need leaders who are not afraid to show us glimpses of our shared humanity.  

This window into a leader’s inner life serves to remind us that we are not alone, we are all struggling, and it taps into our shared human connection.  Brene Brown, a social connection and shame researcher, describes vulnerability as replacing “professional distance and cool” with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.  

We don’t want leaders who we can’t trust.  When leaders risk their “professional cool” we see our own struggles and worries mirrored and we know that person is relating to us with authenticity. Authenticity coupled with vulnerability promotes dignity and respect and ultimately, human connection.

And, when people sense that human connection and know that their dignity is protected… 

Our trust in them rises and in turn inspires confidence in us and then…

The crisis and everything we are asking them to do seem manageable.


Imperfection promotes trust

Perhaps my favorite part of embracing love-led leadership is being secure in the mounds of evidence that indicate imperfection (vulnerability and authenticity) fosters more trust than the pretense of being strong.

Research by Sebastian Korb shows that we are hardwired to spot inauthentic responses.  Think about how you feel when you ask someone who is acting angry how they are, only to be met with “I’m fine”. That inauthentic response creates cognitive dissonance because we sense that it’s not true. Whereas, a vulnerable and authentic response from a leader resonates with us.  

Further, Richard Boyatzis’ research shows that employees who simply think about a leader who resonated with them will show enhanced activation in parts of the brain related to positive emotion and social connection.  The opposite is true when they think of a leader who didn’t resonate. 


So, the leadership lesson here?  

We can comfortably embrace demonstrating vulnerability and authenticity knowing that it promotes trust, and to support others to confidently move through a crisis such as this and do all that we are asking of them…


We need all the authentic trust we can get

If you’d like to join the discussion about love-led leadership, you can join the conversation here in the Love-Led Leadership Movement Group or get social with me by following the links below.



Sheena is a proud positive deviant, status quo questioner and change agent. Sheena uses love-led leadership and the be LOVE-LED™ Framework in mentoring, coaching, and consulting emerging or existing leaders to move themselves, their teams and their organizations toward positive change. She has seen love-led leadership actions reduce and reverse the cycle of fear, shame, blame, and guilt that create burnout and imposter syndrome.  Sheena has witnessed the devastating effects when love-led leadership isn’t used by leaders and never wants to see that again. She is the Founder of The Global Love-Led Leadership Movement which strives to share love-led leadership around the world and connect other love-led leaders with each other for networking and mentorship.