I practiced with a young team today that is new in this respect, they have some veteran team members and they have added several new member’s who have brought a new energy and curiosity to the team.
We have been engaged in a series of exercises over the last month that has challenged the team to get out of their comfort zones and simply put, be more vulnerable with their teammates. This is a team that works close together, but that doesn’t mean they really know each other. If I had to pick the melody line of the last two practice sessions, it would be described in this phrase that I have heard over and over …”I feel better knowing that many of my teammates share the same fears that I have.” Fear of failure, Fear of making a bad decision when it really counts, Fear of looking foolish when I don’t have all the information or the answers, Fear of being vulnerable and taken advantage of, Fear that I might not measure up to my other teammates.”
As the team shared their ideas, insights, fears, and vulnerabilities,
I could now see a team growing closer together and becoming more open and honest with each other. NO, they’re not where they need to be but they’re practicing and taking productive action to get closer to where they need to be.
I think Bill George Author of True North (Former Medtronic CEO, Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, Fortune 500 Best CEO) said it best, “For many years of my career, I felt I had to do things perfectly and have all the answers. I lacked the confidence to share my weaknesses, fears and vulnerabilities. When I finally learned to do so, things went much better for me, and my relationships with colleagues improved. Most important, I felt more comfortable in my own skin and had a stronger sense of well-being.”
We all make mistakes, we fail and we all have vulnerabilities. Bill George did not hide or mask his natural self. Rather, he sought to bring forth deeper elements of himself through his stories that revealed his vulnerabilities. He was real, and authentic and as a result he developed a stronger, deeper connection with his team.
The longest journey you will ever make is the 18 inches from your Head to your Heart. In my work, 90% of the time I am not working with an executive who has a competence problem (the Head-IQ) rather, it’s a Heart (EI-emotional intelligence) problem, the ability to allow oneself to be more vulnerable, to be more empathetic, more compassionate or more courageous.