Why moments of vulnerable transparency are important in employee relations, innovation and customer service 

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

A moment of vulnerable transparency is
when people say something true and honest but that is not necessarily traditionally acceptable to share or even politically correct. It helps people make decisions!

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This could include:

  • Leaders sharing with employees a mistake they’ve made.
  • Customer service representatives actually acknowledging a mistake.
  • Admitting that an “innovative” thing isn’t working.

Of course, the next steps include:

  • Accountability – yes, leaders can get fired, too, but it obviously doesn’t need to lead to that every time. But there needs to be some accountability by the people who actually made the mistake. Accountability isn’t always about punishment either and the accountability that actually helps us move forward doesn’t punish but enables learning. 
  • Fixing it – now that we’ve admitted the mistake and if we are still around, let’s fix it quickly. 

The two go hand in hand really. You can’t fix what we haven’t acknowledged. Like when I weighed 330 pounds, I denied that I was fat. Crazy, I know. But I did. Once I had a moment of vulnerable transparency, held myself accountable for crappy eating habits and decided to fix it, I was ready to start my journey of being healthy.

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But, admitting that we made a mistake is hard – especially for leaders. Because you know many of the leaders we grew up with weren’t very transparent – at all. They told you when a decision was made and that was that. No details were shared.

But today, things should be different and Participation Age leaders, customer service oriented companies  and authentic storytellers already do some or all of these:

  • They say it how it is (without being rude, snarky or bossy).
  • They work on things with people – and this doesn’t mean they always let no buy-in hold them back. 
  • They are helpful. 
  • They own their lives (and stories).

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When people have moments of vulnerable transparency that helps those involved – them and us – to make decisions on how to write our next chapter. 

And by the way, making and admitting a mistake does not mean that we have to shut down all of our social media accounts and go into hiding – in general. Sharing is okay and our stories can help others, too. 

It means we own our lives.

Use these moments to move forward quickly – sometimes that’s together and sometimes we take different paths at the same fork in the road.