How vulnerability enables teams to be highly effective

by | Dec 3, 2020

Tree reflected in lake

If you have read any of the books by Dr Brené Brown or watched her TED talks you may recognise the following quote from her extensive work researching this very topic.

‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change’.

It is a powerful statement in so many ways. It is a statement that speaks to what can be achieved when we choose to step into the unknown regardless of our fears.

Being vulnerable is incredibly human

And that fear can be intense for many of us, especially when we are asked to make ourselves vulnerable to the team we work with on a daily basis. Regardless of your role or seniority being vulnerable is incredibly human and the experience is always far more than what is contained in a book or a You Tube video.

It has to be experienced.

A bit like learning to ride a bike for example. It is one thing to read a book on cycling or watch a YouTube video on the subject. Both are incredibly useful but until you get on the bike and start peddling, not much has really been experienced or learnt apart from theory.

It is in the experience of being vulnerable with each other that teams start to realise what vulnerability actually brings to the table.

Whilst there are many ways to explore vulnerability, I have found that personal story telling is incredibly powerful when working with teams. When done appropriately, this form of vulnerability between team members tends to connect individuals far beyond their judgements and assumptions they hold of each other.

Our stories are real and serve a very powerful purpose

I have listened to stories that reveal personal journeys filled with deep wisdom and experience.

Of perseverance in the face of real adversity, of resilience against all odds, of emotional growth and self-awareness born from profound experiences. To name just a few.

Stories that speak of those experiences that connect us all. Of profound love and loss, birth of children, loss of children, death of loved ones, happiness, joy, marriage, and divorce.

Our stories are real and serve a very powerful purpose. They remind us we are all connected.

It is in that awareness of a connection to each other that teams start to really bond and form. You could have heard a pin drop from a million miles away during some of those stories. The silence as people acknowledged each other through listening was and is profound.

The empathy and compassion between people after these deep moments of vulnerability are also profound. In many cases it is the first time a whole team has shared in this way.

It is also more than the story telling. It is also more than the vulnerability.

It is also about authenticity, individuals slowing down and becoming present, hearing each other, acknowledging each other, connecting. Without distraction.

Where trust emerges for a team

Simply put, it is where trust flickers and grows throughout a team. A very different trust to any assumed trust. This is vulnerability-based trust, the foundation of change, creativity, and innovation.

What is also enabled are behaviours with deep roots in trust. Highly effective behaviours like ownership, accountability, and commitment. The kind of behaviours that sustain performance, engagement, and a focus on delivering results.

Enabling highly effective behaviours

Behaviours that sustain the individual, the team, and the organisation. Now, that is worth something!

Our next blog will explore these topics further but if you are interested, you can read more here.

Real People, Real Change, Real Results.