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How comfortable are you being vulnerable with your team members?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How comfortable are you being vulnerable with your team members?

  • Very — I have no problem being seen as vulnerable: 43%
  • Somewhat — I’ll occasionally make myself vulnerable in small ways: 40%
  • Not very — It’s rare that I make myself vulnerable: 13%
  • Not at all — I play everything close to the vest and expose nothing: 4%.

Vulnerability builds trust. Opening up to your team members and sharing who you really are helps them understand why and how you make decisions as well as what you value. Armed with that knowledge, they can better predict your behaviors which is a foundation of trust. If you make yourself vulnerable first, they’re also more likely to share their thoughts, hopes, and fears which enables you to lead and serve them better. When thinking about making yourself vulnerable, focus on simplicity and share who you really are. The easier it is to understand you, the easier it is to trust you.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box,” and “The Elegant Pitch.”