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Using the failure to foster a culture of vulnerability

Foster a culture of vulnerability

Failure is, and always will be, unavoidable, universal, and unexpected. Today’s leaders need to know how to face it, and most importantly, how they can use it as a force of change.

As it turns out, failure offers leaders a great opportunity to teach valuable lessons, open insightful conversations with their team, innovate, and move forward.

Fuckup Nights has facilitated hundreds of Private Events for companies around the world, using failure to encourage deeper connections, identify insights, and break down the rigidity of traditional hierarchies. We create sessions that are personal, fun, laid-back, and straightforward, using failure as a jumping off point to establish an environment of openness and trust.

Based on our experience, here’s some advice on how leaders can use failure to foster a culture of vulnerability:

Lead by example

In our opinion, leaders have two main characteristics: they truly listen and they lead by example.

The only way to implement a culture of vulnerability is by example. This means switching gears from the old-school idea of enlightened and invincible leaders that always know what to do to that of an inclusive leader that listens, truly empowers, and fosters learning instead of blame. It means being vulnerable and showing team members that you too can get involved in the nitty-gritty, fuck up, and learn from failure instead of sweeping it under the rug. 

A vulnerable leader makes everything from conversations to projects to day-to-day operations more transparent, fun, and innovative.

Consistency is king

Cultural and behavioral change needs to have buy-in from the bottom up, but it’s important that these changes are implemented by design. Changing your team’s mindset isn’t something that can be accomplished by attending one event or listening to one talk. Structures need to be put into place to turn new concepts into practices and new practices into habits.

Make sure that you’re committed and consistent in your vision and implementation. It may be challenging, but a consistent leader inspires trust in their team and lays the groundwork for true change.

Create spaces of Psychological safety

As a leader, it is crucial to create an environment of psychological safety where your whole team feels like they can trust each other and share their thoughts openly.

This is why creating opportunities to share stories of failure is so impactful: participants are able to connect with each other, learn from each other, gain perspective, and build resiliency.

Whether it’s by bringing Fuckup Nights to your company or some other initiative, creating psychological safe spaces is a fundamental part of creating a culture of vulnerability.

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