January 30, 2022

Vulnerability In The Workplace

Vulnerable (adjective)

[ vuhl-ner-uh-buhl ]

1   : willing to show emotion or to allow one’s weaknesses to be seen or known

Why do we need vulnerability in the workplace?

Our workplace relationships can feel like they are becoming increasingly distant. Whether it's working from home or in the office, we’re spending more and more time on the computer and less time collaborating face-to-face with peers. It can be hard to develop those personal connections that make for stronger teams and a more comfortable work environment. 

These distant environments can encourage us to keep our armor on and get into a mode of clocking in and clocking out without feeling fulfilled. Putting this emotional mask on at work:

  • prevents us from being creative because we often worry about what others will think about us
  • Can get us caught up in perfectionism and and self doubt, holding the team back from progressing in important projects
  • Makes us feel exhausted because we spend energy hiding our true, real, and sometimes messy selves.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” - Dr. Brene Brown

Vulnerability brings authenticity and creates stronger leaders and happier teams. Could your team be holding back because they’re not comfortable in their environment?

What does vulnerability look like in the workplace?

Vulnerability is not about oversharing your personal life to your entire team. We have friends, family, and hopefully therapists for that. It’s important to recognize that you are still at work. While vulnerability is important, so are workplace boundaries.

To implement vulnerability  in the workplace , start by identifying your intentions behind wanting to share your vulnerable thoughts. Ask yourself: Are you looking for support/understanding for your coworkers or are you looking to unload? If you’re looking to unload emotions without a filter, then work is probably not the right environment to do so; however,if you are having a hard time with that subject you’d like to vent with someone about, you can let your coworker know that you’re going through a difficult time and may need time off or support in the form of check ins.

Vulnerability looks like:

  • Asking for help
  • Taking accountability, avoiding excuses or blame. How can you learn and how can you ask for help if something is going poorly in the future?
  • Confronting  tough conversations.Topics like emotions, race, and gender can be difficult and uncomfortable to begin with your team or company but these conversations can lead to the most growth.
  • Establishing healthy boundaries
  • Practice! Vulnerability is not  like flipping a switch. It will require practice with peers that you trust. 

Vulnerability takes a ton of courage. It’s not easy to be honest about what’s going on in our internal landscape. Work can make us feel like robots who show up, get work done, and complete our tasks by the end of the day. It’s important to remember that no matter what line of work you’re in, you are a human that experiences human emotions on a daily basis. 

When we decide to practice vulnerability in the workplace, we will experience the benefits of it in other parts of our lives.