Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Opening Up Can Make Your Team Stronger

(Credit: John Hain/Pixabay)
You do not build trust in order to be vulnerable. When you're vulnerable, it builds trust. Being vulnerable together builds closeness and creates it. - Daniel Coyle
"There I was..."

When we share a good story, people become a part of our story. Their imaginations and senses awaken, and their emotions react. However, telling someone else's story is often easier than telling our own. The reason? Vulnerability. In order to share our story, we have to be vulnerable.

Recently, I was leading a small group session. I had a close relationship with a couple of the participants and not with the others. Our discussion progressed to the point where I felt the need to share a very personal experience. The little voice in the back of my head kept saying "What will they think of me?"

For a while, I kept the voice at bay. Somehow our discussion just kept fueling my need to share, so I did. What happened next was interesting. The couple I knew shared a little about themselves; they weren't as open as I was, but they shared. And then the newest person to the group shared something. My vulnerability allowed others to open up. So much so, that by the end of the night, our newest member expressed his thankfulness for his new group. He had found a deep connection; he had found a safe space to share his burden.

As I was reading Daniel Coyle's book Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Effective Groups, I realized our interaction was a "vulnerability loop."

(Credit: OpenIcons/Pixabay)
According to Coyle a vulnerability loop is "a shared exchange of openness, it’s the most basic building block of cooperation and trust. Vulnerability loops seem swift and spontaneous from a distance, but when you look closely, they all follow the same discrete steps:
  1. Person A sends a signal of vulnerability. 
  2. Person B detects this signal. 
  3. Person B responds by signaling their own vulnerability. 
  4. Person A detects this signal. 
  5. A norm is established; closeness and trust increase."
Cohesive teams, like those found within the wildland fire service, are forged through vulnerabilities. Consider being vulnerable with your team members today.
That's why good teams tend to do a lot of extreme stuff together. A constant stream of vulnerability gives them a much richer, more reliable estimate on what their trustworthiness is, and brings them closer, so they can take still more risks. It builds on itself. - David DeSteno
Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper

  • Read Daniel Coyle's book Culture Code: The Secret of Highly Effective Groups.
  • Read Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Lead through relationships by building your team today. SHARE today!
About the Author: Pam McDonald is a writer/editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and member of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.

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