For business, it is too often about tools that promise to increase speed, ease, and cumbersome processes. Without making cultural changes to how we work together, we cannot achieve its ambitious transformation and modernization efforts.
Since 2010, Brené Brown popularized the idea that there are benefits to vulnerability. But knowing these benefits is much easier than the next step of opening up and making yourself vulnerable—especially at work.
What does leading to vulnerability and transformational efforts have in common?
Leading teams through complex, nonlinear change without knowing at the outset, precisely what the process and outcomes will be, is an intimidating mission.
Vulnerability, for a leader, is about getting more comfortable with process uncertainty and allowing people and the organization to learn and apply new methods on the job.
You may have practiced hiding your flaws at work—an approach that’s worth unlearning. Leading organizational innovation requires vulnerability from all involved. Most importantly, it requires leaders to create a safe space to work through the real process and workforce solutions.
Leaders must build psychological safety in their organizations to enable innovation. Clearly stating, “we’ll figure this out together, because none of us can do it alone” is a good start. And highlighting the benefits the organization has gained in learning from small failures also helps the team feel empowered to test new approaches.
Developing psychological safety builds unparalleled trust with and between your team members. This kind of faith gets people to show up with a dedication to every project, and the willingness to try something new.
There are three main benefits of this change in the approach:
It helps faster progress on projects.
Leading with vulnerability encourages others to be vulnerable as well. The faster you get real about the challenges you’re facing, and the possibility of failure, the quicker you can start solving the problem.
Development is more accurate, less costly solutions.
Vulnerability also means the lack of false confidence that your answer is the only right one. It creates the space to try different approaches and encourages people to show up with their best ideas.
It will make less revision and rework.
Being genuinely open to the idea that others might have something valuable to offer makes your team more likely to find the best fit for your particular problem. It saves time spent revising or reworking a mediocre product late in the process.
When we lead with a single, unwavering vision of an expected outcome, we miss opportunities to find or create a better solution along the way.
Leading an organization through these changes requires leaders and their teams to learn how to apply new methods on the job. To become comfortable with making the small mistakes associated with trying new things.
And to understand that the process of leaning into these new methods will produce the big successes they want to accomplish. Once the “perfection or nothing” drops, we can move past those insecurities and effectively address the real opportunities.