By Roberto Giannicola, PCC

A few months ago, I delivered a presentation about attitudinal mindset and how it affects behavior at work. I talked about how our views, based on our beliefs, experiences, values and assumptions, impact the way we show up in our career. The participants answered a few questions about how they tend to react.

The presentation was only one hour, but many participants remarked on the struggles of self-awareness. This comment got my attention:

“I think it’s great to foster conversation about various mindsets and how we operate in our group, but maybe it requires a degree of bravery that isn’t there yet to admit your shortcomings to the team.”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard this. Bravery is required in the process of self-discovery because it takes a mighty effort to open up, be vulnerable and change.

We believe we are supposed to be comfortable all the time. Well, let me tell you, that’s not how we grow. When you think about physical activities like running, lifting weights or getting the sick-pack abs, you know it will take a lot of effort, pain and time. But when it comes to personal growth, we are often afraid of doing the actual work and showing up as vulnerable.

To start changing how we operate as a group, some of us need to take the lead. The question is this: In your journey, can you also get the people on your team to answer their personal call to bravery? If we want to create a more open, supportive and trusting dynamic between co-workers, you might be the one who needs to start showing vulnerability and lead by example. That can be tough, and you might get your ass kicked. By being a pioneer in your team you will honor your own values, and you might make it easier for others to follow as they witness your transformation. You see, vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

Have you ever watched the TED talk: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy? Check it out, it’s hilarious.

In the video, Derek Sivers explains the importance not only of the leader, but also of the followers. He says: “It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and bravely ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire. The second follower is a turning point: it’s proof the first has done well. Now it’s not a lone nut, and it’s not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.”

So, if you are a leader brave enough to start this change, speak up about your journey. Talk about your struggles. Show openness. That’s how you get the first and second follower to jump in the arena with you.

A group coaching session or workshop about personal growth starts with people who volunteer to participate. Human resources can offer the program, but it shouldn’t be required. Instead, as pioneers jump in first, others will be curious about trying it as well. Then they’ll be courageous enough to become the other brave “nut” because a pioneer shouldered the vulnerability and lived through it.

For teams to succeed, they need the capacity to be vulnerable, to fail, to crash and then to rise again, or they will not deliver excellence but just keep cruising in the safe zone.

That’s right, folks. This is how it goes. So, the question is, are you courageous enough to be the lone “nut” (or the second, or the third) and start a movement in your organization?

I’ve been that nut numerous times.

Be brave. Be vulnerable. I dare you.

 

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For more about attitudinal alignment, consult with Roberto.