Take the lead when it comes to being vulnerable with your group
- As a leader, take every opportunity as a moment to share vulnerability
When speaking to your team, use the opportunity to ask for feedback about your performance. For example, ask questions like “What one thing can I do to improve the team?” or “What one thing am I not doing that I should do more regularly?” Then take action on their suggestions.
- Adopt mantras and personal notes to persistently communicate vulnerability and cooperation
For example, you can use a mantra such as “The greater the problem, the more help I need” to remind your team about sharing vulnerability. You can also allow employees to place personal notes on the company bulletin board, for example, “Can anyone help me find a good babysitter for this weekend?”
- Deliver negative feedback in person rather than via email
Give negative feedback to a colleague face-to-face so that you can resolve the tension immediately and avoid any misunderstandings from festering. In-person communication ensures greater clarity and makes it easier to reconnect with a colleague after a tense discussion.
- Ask constructive questions to encourage trust and cooperation
If a teammate comes to you with an idea that you think is flawed, ask them a series of questions that gently challenge their assumptions. You can ask the same question in different ways to help them see the weaknesses in their idea. This is better than outrightly criticizing their idea.
- Make a habit of allowing your team to solve problems on their own
Let’s say you’re a soccer coach and your team is not performing well by halftime. Disappear for a while and let them huddle together in the locker room to figure out the problem by themselves. This will encourage them to talk openly to each other about their weaknesses and figure out a plan together.
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