As a general rule, people don't usually like showing off their vulnerabilities. One of the main reasons for that is because we, as humans, fear being perceived as incompetent or being criticized.
Brene Brown is a professor at Houston University. She explains in her book, “Daring Greatly,” how individuals love to see the true self in others. However, when it comes to ourselves, we are afraid to let others see who we really are.
For instance, we appreciate when our colleagues apologize for a mistake they made. We acknowledge their gesture and value it. But, if we were to make the same error, we might have a hard time recognizing that we were wrong. This is not because of our ego but out of fear.
Contrary to what you might think, showing your weaknesses can help you lead your team better. Yes, letting your employees see your imperfections is actually a good thing and more and more people have started to realize this fact.
For instance, in his book, "The Culture Code," Daniel Coyle talks about how vulnerability is actually a virtue when it comes to teamwork. He explains how exposing your flaws, you spark cooperation and trust.
"Vulnerability is about sending a really clear signal that you have weaknesses, that you could use help." - Dr. Jeff Polzer, professor of organizational behavior at Harvard.
Unfortunately, many leaders wrongly think that they will be perceived better by their employees by hiding their imperfections. Yet, this is precisely what you shouldn't be doing from a leadership position.
Instead of falsely appearing as something you are not, you should let people know that their help is requested. Your team will elevate you. By doing so, they will work as a whole for the same purpose. Don’t be afraid to pop the ‘Does anyone have a better idea?’ question. Your team members will step up and take the lead. At first, they might do it more shyly, but soon, they will gradually build a solid cooperation relationship with every reinforcement and intervention.
Yet, fostering a strong team that understands the positive impact of vulnerability takes time and repetition. The easiest way to do that is to ensure that every member has a voice. We know that this is easier said than done. One of the best ways to make sure every opinion is heard is not to end a meeting until every single one of the members has had the chance to speak their mind.
So, our advice is simple. Be an example for your people and let them know what your weak points are. Ask for their help and teach them how to do so for them as well. Guide them on how to use their vulnerabilities as positive traits and build collaboration by using them.
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