In one of my seminars, I called simply the S Factor Leadership the Next Chapter I end it with this saying: “Servant Leaders see the best in the broken, so the broken can be their best.”
But behind this saying is this truth: because Servant Leaders have themselves experienced brokenness they can lead more effectively.
Last night my wife and I were watching an episode of the HGTV show, Home Town, when one of the clients of Erin and Ben, admiring the refurbished floor that still showed signs of wear and scars, “we don’t show enough of our scars.” (my paraphrase) That’s a profound truth. While she was speaking of old floors and refurbishing that is true of our lives as well. The truth is, very few of us have gone through life unscathed. Many of us have scars, and often they are the scars of the heart.
The scars of our life: the hurts, failures, shortcomings, and loss, all help shape us to be leaders who can lead with empathy and compassion. It doesn’t make us weak, rather it makes us stronger. In fact, many years ago, Max Cleland wrote a book called Strong at the Broken Places underscoring this reality.
The beauty of brokenness is that it gives us perspective, maturity, understanding, and patience. Leaders who have gone through the trials of brokenness are in fact more whole than their counterparts who have not. That’s the paradox, that’s the mystery. Brokenness gives us a view reality that we may not have seen before.
Having been broken in one place or another, we can empathize with those who are going through their times of testing and challenge. It gives us the wisdom to advise without some kind of Pollyanna fantasy that tries to explain it away with the brush of a positive statement.
Servant Leaders who have experienced brokenness are real, genuine, authentic, and kind. Because of that, we can identify with them, connect with them, and follow them more wholeheartedly.
Indeed, that’s the benefit of brokenness.