Model and Reward Vulnerability on Your Team

Today’s Tip 
Model and Reward Vulnerability on Your Team
For a team to innovate, people must be willing to disagree, dissent, and challenge the status quo. As a leader, it’s your job to set the conditions for this kind of intellectual bravery. First, check yourself: Make sure you reward vulnerability, rather than punish it, and be mindful of the signals you’re sending, implicitly or explicitly, that discourage disagreement or outside-the-box thinking. Next, encourage your team members to think beyond their role and function. You can also specifically assign someone on your team to play the role of devil’s advocate — their job is to challenge a course of action or find flaws in a proposed decision. Make sure you rotate that role so you can get a variety of perspectives. Whenever you reject a suggestion, express gratitude for the idea and explain your reasoning. Finally, model vulnerability by sharing your mistakes, asking questions, and admitting what you don’t know. Laying the groundwork for open and honest discussions could help your team come up with your company’s next great idea.
This tip is adapted from “To Foster Innovation, Cultivate a Culture of Intellectual Bravery,” by Timothy R. Clark

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