For a long time, it has been thought by many that emotions don’t belong at work. That you should ‘flip a switch’ when you walk through the office door, because emotions and vulnerability have no place in the workplace. That professionalism is the absence of emotion, to be professional is to be stoic and cold.
Some of us have been raised as professionals in a culture where we’re meant to be tough as nails. Where being vulnerable and sharing our emotions is seen as a weakness and can destroy your reputation in an instant.
In reality, it’s quite the opposite.
Vulnerability creates Connection
Connection creates Trust
Trust allows Vulnerability
Sharing how you feel at work shouldn’t be frowned upon or not taken seriously, especially as a leader. It is about being honest and open with your feelings, and a great culture will embrace and support you in any way necessary.
There can be a range of emotions you might be feeling, from serious issues like a family tragedy or personal financial issues to a culmination of small frustrations – missing the train, getting stuck in traffic, an argument with your significant other, school drop off didn’t go as planned. Whatever it is, everyone struggles on a day-to-day basis, but admitting and sharing this vulnerability at work has been taboo!
Research has proven that showing emotion fosters a connection with your team and co-workers, creating a sense of trust and vulnerability and you can’t have trust without vulnerability.
However, there is a fine line between sharing and oversharing. Oversharing destroys trust and can make people feel uncomfortable, anxious and feel a responsibility for your emotions and well-being. Oversharing can also work against you, where people may think you lack self-awareness.
To create and foster an open relationship between leaders and the team, here at Corporate Edge we have daily 15-minute check-ins where the team shares how they’re feeling on a scale of 1 to 10. This is a small, but necessary insight for individuals and the wider team to understand where everyone is at. Consistent low ratings lead to further conversations and getting to the root of a problem or issue. It also allows the team to support the individual either emotionally or with their workload.
Emotional expression at work is an incredibly important aspect for a happy, engaged and psychologically safe workplace that embraces every part of the individual. To effectively share without overwhelm, you need to have ‘selective vulnerability’.
Read our blog on “Are you neglecting your personal life at work”
The flow on effects of a psychologically safe, high-trust, vulnerable work environment are endless. Being honest about how we feel, being able to freely suggest ideas, being able to make mistakes and not get judged and sharing who we are, leads to employee retention, higher levels of engagement, a successful culture and increased productivity.
At the end of the day, we are all human and part of the human condition is having bad days. You should be able to talk about these with your team/co-workers when you feel you need their support and understanding. Trust and vulnerability go hand in hand and have the potential to create high performing teams that support and genuinely care for each other. With a team like this – the sky is the limit!