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Ways to Get Started Practicing Vulnerability at Work

Wednesday, August 31, 2022 - Joe Kiedinger

If you haven’t already, read my August Wisdom on Wednesdays: “Vulnerability at Work: How Much is Too Much?” and “The Value of Vulnerability at Work,” start there.

Already convinced it’s time to get moving on vulnerability? It’s a big concept, so let’s break it down into some practical steps to get started.

  1. Develop a vulnerability plan for the workplace
    What? Well, that sounds inauthentic! Hear me out. It can be a real challenge for leaders who play close to the chest to just suddenly be open and personal with those they lead. So, create a strategy that’s comfortable for you.

    Ask yourself, what do I feel comfortable sharing with my team? What stories from my past have made me who I am today? What would help my team understand me better?

  2. Decide how to share and stick to it
    Once you have your stories sorted out, commit. Have a company meeting coming up? Set aside time to talk about your story. Put it in your PowerPoint and commit to sharing so you don’t chicken out. It doesn’t need to be an earth-shattering message, just something personal to get your feet wet with vulnerability.  

  3. Be the first to share something impactful
    One big mistake leaders make when employing vulnerability in the workplace is to ask employees to go first. As leaders, it’s our job to set the tone and to inspire others to follow us.

    At Prophit Co., we began sharing what we call “My Life” at the start of each All Company Meeting. That means, one of us gets up and shares photos and memories so we can get to know them better on a personal level. When we kicked off this idea, my wife Danica and I, of course, went first. We couldn’t expect our employees to stand up before the company and get personal without doing the same ourselves.  

  4. Start small
    Your first stories don’t need to be deep or sad. If sharing personal information at work is entirely new to you, start with something light or funny. Consider Googling an icebreaker idea or go around the room sharing a favorite childhood memory.

  5. Hire help
    In our coaching sessions, we get personal with leaders to dig through their story in private, judgment-free, one-on-one conversations and help them develop and present their Personal Purpose to their organizations. Want some help getting started? We’re here for you!

JOE KIEDINGER

ACTION PLAN: Tune in to this month’s podcast where we dig in deeper with vulnerability. Find out how it helps build a dignity-based culture, how it can help your home life and discover its tie to psychological safety. 

Sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration.

Understanding where others are coming from is critical in communicating and working toward a common cause.