A conundrum is defined as a confusing and difficult problem or question. As I think about vulnerability and the places we work, I think we could all agree that we typically face a confusing and difficult problem or question when deciding, “How do I want to show up here?”

I have been part of many different teams throughout my career. Some were super successful, but many were not. When I think about when I felt most connected and engaged, I can relate it back to being able to be me at work. I’m not talking about the civilized politically correct me; I’m talking about the raw unedited version of me. 

Working on a truly connected team allows us to bring our real selves to work. The beauty of that is what happens when we stop hiding and really show up. Hiding often looks like blaming others, covering up our mistakes, or trying to be perfect. On the contrary, our real selves get to admit that we are not good at everything, that we have hard stuff going on in our personal lives, and that things aren’t always great.

Leaders – I have a challenge for you. This week, focus on how you are showing up at work. Your team will be no more vulnerable then you are. If you want people to truly show up, you must go FIRST!   

A few things to be on the lookout for:

  • How do I respond when my team is talking about real life stuff? Do I try to quickly refocus them on the work or do I engage and try to learn more about them?
  • Do I feel like I must be perfect and not show my own weaknesses? How do I behave when someone else makes a mistake?
  • How often do I show appreciation for effort, not just the end result?

Remember: being vulnerable is conscious choice. Choose wisely!