Vulnerability in the Workplace: We've Got it All Wrong

August 4, 2022

Bottom Line Up Front [BLUF]:

Exchanges of vulnerability, which we naturally tend to avoid, are the pathway through which trusting cooperation is built.

The Science:

Normally, we think about trust and vulnerability the way we think about standing on solid ground and leaping into the unknown: first, we build trust, THEN we leap.

But science is showing us that we’ve got it backward.

Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust, it precedes it. Instinctively we see vulnerability as a condition to be hidden. But science shows that when it comes to creating cooperation, vulnerability is not a risk but a psychological requirement. Being vulnerable gets the static out of the way and lets us do the job together, without worrying or hesitating. It lets us work as one unit.

-Daniel Coyle "The Culture Code."

Try sending a signal of vulnerability, like the ideas below, this week:

  1. When speaking in front of a group: I was really nervous about speaking to you today…
  2. When pitching an idea: Here’s a really dopy idea…what if we…
  3. When talking with a direct report: I have a lot to learn as well, what would you do in this situation?

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