The Power of Vulnerability in the Workplace

The Power of Vulnerability in the Workplace

vulnerability quote by Brené Brown

Connecting with others on any level is essential for our very existence, and connecting well within the workplace is vital to your enjoyment and productivity.

Gaining a deeper understanding of your colleagues and employees doesn’t make you vulnerable, and can actually enhance relationships as we’ve found through delivering our Leadership Programme.

When we start working with an organisation on their leadership and communication, we often find that those in a position of leadership fear opening themselves up and showing a more ‘human’ side, because it gives them a feeling of vulnerability.

This is so often because they feel, in order to assert their authority and lead the way they have to remain work focused and professional at all times. This can often lead to a disconnection with staff and leave you open to lack of approachability, which in turn can harm the relationships within your team and organisation.

The most innovative organisations thrive in part because they are willing to show their true selves in the workplace and to their client base. It may seem in more traditional corporate environments that having this level of openness within the workplace, displays a lack of professionalism. For many, vulnerability signifies weakness and incompetence. They believe it has no place in leadership where authority and strength must be maintained. However this level of openness and willingness to embrace vulnerability often leads to a more trusting working relationship with client’s and colleague alike. People trust you when you are genuine and authentic, not a replica of someone else.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, turn the page and look to see what’s inside.

When leaders display that they aren’t afraid to show their more human side, a more vulnerable side, people find it easier to relate to them and in turn work for them and with them. When your professional image reflects your personal image people often gravitate toward you because there’s more elements of you to connect with; this is a powerful tool for any leader because connecting with your employees is half the challenge.

Examples of vulnerability include:

> Admitting you’re wrong and taking responsibility for your part in a disagreement.
> Taking a risk, stepping into the emotional unknown, and exposing who you really are
> Giving honest feedback to a team member. Saying what you really think isn’t always easy, however, it can be the quickest route to building trust with another person
> Encouraging others to be better than you. This means you aren’t intimidated by another colleague’s success. In fact, you feel inspired by it
> If you have made a mistake, let your people know. If you want your team to learn from their mistakes, then lead by example
> Tell your team what you are working on in order to improve yourself. Ask them to give you feedback on your progress and ask them to hold you accountable for your improvement.

When leaders display that they aren’t afraid to show their more human side, a more vulnerable side, people find it easier to relate to them and in turn work for them and with them. When your professional image reflects your personal image people often gravitate toward you because there’s more elements of you to connect with; this is a powerful tool for any leader because connecting with your employees is half the challenge.

Brené Brown gave a TEDx talk on vulnerability in 2010 which went viral, and has now had multi millions of views. This is clearly a subject that crosses many boundaries within our everyday life and in the workplace.

Most people see vulnerability as something to fear, like it’s a weakness. Though anyone willing to open themselves to others, to possibilities and to themselves is in fact a power that makes you stronger.

Throughout the world businesses should be focused on creating a working culture with authenticity, approachability, openness and honesty.

Q: Anything ring true for you here? We specialise in helping organisations overcome these issues so please get in touch to discuss or leave a comment below on how allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable has made a difference to your workplace.