Vulnerability in the workplace is a topic that is gaining a wider interest. It’s easy to see why when watching Brenee Brown’s powerful TED Talk on the subject.
We live in a world where people often numb ‘vulnerability’. Whether it be by trying to make the uncertain certain; using blame as a way to deflect pain or discomfort; or having a need to be perfect.
This is understandable. Humans have evolved to protect themselves from being harmed both physically and emotionally since the beginning of time. With this comes a cost. By living in a comfort zone where we feel safe and secure and not letting the world see who we really are, it means that we have become more and more disconnected.
Which goes against the core of what it is to be human. We are connected social beings.
Brenee talks about vulnerability and courage going hand in hand; helping people become connected; and ultimately the best versions of themselves.
In a workplace this could have far reaching implications.
So what does vulnerability look like?
Here’s some quick points worth thinking about when working with your colleagues:
- It’s okay to not be perfect!
- Take accountability when things don’t work out the way they were planned.
- Putting your hand up and asking for help when you need it. It’s okay not to know everything.
- Being okay with having tough conversations.
- Turning up to work each day and being authentic.
What could it look like in practice?
How would being vulnerable help an employee settle into a new role? Could performance reviews achieve more productive outcomes? Can staff feel comfortable asking questions where there’s an assumption that everyone just knows what is being talked about? Would meetings be more open and candid?
There is likely a big difference between a workplace that embraces vulnerability and one that doesn’t.
A word of caution
It makes sense that done the right way, being vulnerable can build great connections and foster a collaborative environment.
But be warned, it could also backfire if vulnerability is not authentic. If situations and conversations feel scripted, they could be perceived to have an ulterior motive. This causes all sorts of distrust and disconnection, resulting in a potentially toxic workplace environment.
Here is the full 20-minute TED talk on vulnerability. We highly recommend checking it out to see how it may impact your workplace.
Want to watch even more TED Talks we have shared. Check them all out here.