Be Vulnerable, I Dare You
Yesterday was a great day at work. First off, let me state that I truly believe that I work with some of the most amazing minds in the industry and I’m so thankful I have the ability to talk freely with each of them and learn what they know. It was Tuesday Training, I was in charge of running a quick little training on things we learned from deploying a “test run” of an application in production, which was ultimately a stop-gap for some issues we've had in the past. I came into the office not knowing what I was going to really be talking about. I’m relatively new at my company and so I haven’t seen the things others before me have. A couple of my coworkers came in and we had an impromptu meeting to discuss the topic and content to be covered in this training meeting. I wasn't worried, these guys knew their stuff and it was all understandable information. Having it the day of didn't bother me at all.
As I took notes, I kept thinking of a book I have been reading called “The Phoenix Project”. In the book a CEO of a company references The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and he calls a leadership meeting with his people. They sit down and he proceeds to explain to them what he’s learned from his reading. He shares an interesting rule of thumb to follow. Trust is only truly built when you are vulnerable. The CEO (in his meeting) then goes around the room and kindly asks each team member to be vulnerable and share who they are, why they are here, and what makes them tick. Something in my heart kept stirring me to share this with my team. I kept hearing the Agile Manifesto line in my head “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. I don’t normally do unorthodox things like this…but I decided to be vulnerable. I may not be a CEO of a company, I may not even be in a supervisor position, but I am part of a team, a ground-breaking, pioneering, and great one.
At the start of the meeting, I explained to my team the above story and then proceeded to express my feelings with them. Who I was, what I was doing here, where I've come from, what makes me tick, and what my future plans may be. This was one of the most freeing, feel-good, and humbling experiences I've had in a work setting and whether or not they were each listening, I didn't really care. After I concluded, I wanted to leave with more than just “here’s me transparent as glass” because in fact, this wasn't about me, it was about my team. I challenged each team member to do something similar when they are heading a meeting. I expressed that only this kind of transparency can bring the team closer together and hope to learn more from and about the great people I work with in the future. We continued with the meeting like we normally would; it was productive, good questions were asked, and the right people answered them. We’ll see if anything happens going forward.
So now, this comes back to you guys, my readers. Dare to be vulnerable. Dare to be transparent. Dare to trust.
(Originally written July 2, 2014)