When you are a team builder one of the keys to success is creating safety within your culture. This is harder than it sounds, and most overlook this when it comes to their team.
Building a safe culture benefits your team, your health, and your success, but it will also be one of the most difficult things you will ever do as a leader.
Safe Cultures create honest REAL FEEDBACK.
Real feedback creates identifying REAL PROBLEMS.
Finding real problems, allows you to solve them and create HEALTHY CULTURES.
If you’ve led long enough, you know this isn’t as easy as it seems. You begin to hear issues that people are having with the team or the organization but they never get to you. You wonder why your team isn’t being vulnerable or real about the problems they’re seeing.
Here is the hard truth,
The American “BOSS” was built on a narrative of fear-based leadership
The narrative of the American “boss” told us 4 things.
Bosses are mean.
Bosses are entitled.
Whatever the boss says goes.
If they don’t like me, I'll probably be fired.
I can remember as a kid listening to the ABC show where Donald Trump would yell,
Do you remember that?
It was a funny show, and a funny moment that people loved on television.
But it’s a great picture of how people in western culture view leadership;
Cold, mean, entitled.
This I believe is at the root of this problem.
The truth is we ALL have issues within our teams and organizations. People get bumped, hurt, miscommunication happens, and the list goes on.
Though these things are consistent across the board of all of us, how we handle them matters. The culture we create matters. I truly believe there is such a thing as a HEALTHY, POWERFUL organizations that are open, honest, and SAFE.
So let’s dig into how.
#1 Have Fun!
Guys, we have to breathe a little.
We take ourselves too seriously sometimes and our teams feel it.
The posture you carry into the office, will be the posture your team will carry. If you’re negative, over time build a negative team and attract negative people. When it comes to building safe cultures, people have to know that you are human, you can breathe, and you can relate to their struggles. If people always feel pressured, overwhelmed, or attacked, then good luck.
#2: Give Permission to be REAL
Sometimes, people just need permission. At times I have felt the need to almost pull out the real things to be discussed. On average a team member will give you the 70% truth of the situation. We as humans are GREAT at sugar-coating the truth in the name of avoiding conflict.
Just the other day I was sitting with a coworker in the office and I could tell something was on their mind. They were dancing around the truth, and creating all these bunny trails.
I finally was like “____ what’s really going on?”
Sometimes all we need to do is give permission. People don’t know if what they are going to share is okay to share. But when you give permission, you are giving them a door to walk through for their own security.
And when they do share, be understanding. One of the biggest fears with employees is they feel if they TRULY share their true feelings about things, we will react in anger or defensiveness.
#3: Be vulnerable….even if it’s uncomfortable
Out of all the points I've made on this topic, this one is probably the most important.
If you want people to be vulnerable with you, you must be vulnerable with them.
When working with leaders often we have this urge to be perfect and always put together. This is an unwritten belief we all carry into our teams and possibly even families.
Though there are boundaries in the workplace, lacking vulnerability with your team is a quick way to create your workplace to be unsafe.
If you can’t be vulnerable, how can they?
A powerful question to ask ourselves is
“When was the last time I admitted I was wrong?”
We’re wrong ALL THE TIME. It’s true! So be open, share, be open and vulnerable and watch your team embrace the vulnerability.