Vulnerability has a sacred place inside the workplace. Building trust – an essential ingredient of effective teams – starts with vulnerability. And it begins with the leader taking the risk of showing his/ her humanity.

As a coach, I’ve witnessed breakthroughs as the team engages at the next level when a leader takes the risk of showing emotion, insecurity, hope and fear. Team members follow the lead and recognize, understand, accept and appreciate each other as real people while still honoring their functional roles. Vulnerability is a strength (not a weakness). It’s a declaration that I am showing up with all I have – what you see on the outside and what I (tried to) hide from you on the inside.

It is the process by which I can begin to trust you as a person, a team member, a leader.

Your willingness to be vulnerable is a sign that you will be open and transparent in other interactions with me as well as a sign of respect that you regard me as important enough to speak your truth. Now it’s easier for you to safely confront me – when I’ve done something to trigger you or you’re embarrassed with something that you may have done or said – because we have established a foundation of vulnerability based trust.

Teams that practice getting comfortable with the discomfort of vulnerability are prepared for mastering chaos and opportunity.