Vulnerability — Does it belong in the Workplace?

Human beings are, by nature, vulnerable. We make mistakes, we worry, we fail, and we all have flaws that we carry as burdens for our lifetimes. And yet, the notion that these mustn’t exist in the workplace is perpetuated by those who may wish that humans weren’t…well, so human.

Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Isn’t it necessary that we all hide our weaknesses, lest we be eaten?

The answer may surprise you.

More and more, it is being discovered that the more vulnerability we display, the more successful we become. Think about it: things like creativity, ingenuity, and innovative learning can only come about through trial-and-error and the freedom to fail. When we, as humans, feel the liberty to do things like ask questions, admit our ignorance of a topic, confess our frustration, express emotion, and take risks, we are all more likely to recognise and accept our own flaws and those of others, to be honest, to ask for feedback and help…and encourage others to grow, even if that means they grow beyond our own abilities.

Many of you are shuddering at the mere thought of doing any of the above. When in truth, you have been expending more energy trying to hide your vulnerability than you would be trying to improve upon what you consider to be your flaws.

Not long ago, we talked about Leading from the Feminine. Being vulnerable is one more lesson we can learn from the natural business tendencies of women. It’s generally more difficult for men to allow themselves and others to be vulnerable—particularly in the workplace. What they may not realise is that they’re coming off as aloof, uncaring…and are therefore having difficulty attaining the team support they need for success.

A commitment to allowing vulnerability in the workplace does not mean that professionalism, confidence, and accountability should be smothered. In fact, they are more necessary than ever. The denial of human flaws, and denying the chances that they will manifest in the workplace, is just plain unreasonable. However, when you acknowledge flaws, and give people the freedom to work through them, with failure permitted, their creativity, team spirit, and loyalty will blossom.

When people, as a unit, admit weakness and fear, they band together and accomplish more. This has been true of humans since the dawn of time. Your workplace can choose to resist this truth with stagnancy, or can choose to accept it, embrace it, and be strengthened by it.

How many workplaces will acknowledge vulnerability as a corporate value? How many leaders will permit their teams to exercise the freedom to make and admit mistakes? And how many team members will accept the invitation? In truth, the majority will probably continue on as is the norm, wearing the ‘mighty’ façade of flawless faultlessness…and they will continue on without significant brand, team, or personal growth.

However, for those who make the vulnerability choice, there are spectacular things ahead for them—not excluding profound personal growth, unwavering team spirit, and the level of brand uniqueness that only raw humanity can bring.

Now is the time. What will you choose?

I hope you enjoyed this article.

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Have a beautiful day, beautiful you.