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Thank you for sharing

Employers are realising that a culture of emotional honesty can build trusting, creative teams, but vulnerability is tricky terrain. Suzanne Scott explores how much sharing is too much

S taring intently at my screen, I try desperately to appear as if I am concentrating. The truth is I have forgotten (again) how to ind the document I need to start my irst task. Hardly the technical whizz I portrayed in my interview…

As my cheeks redden, I realise I’m going to have to ask for help from my new colleagues (again). I feel excruciatingly vulnerable having to repeatedly ask for guidance, for everything from turning on my PC to using the microwave. Worse still, remembering all this information is that bit more diicult after a bout of insomnia.

Luckily, workplaces have changed since I was last in one 15 years ago. A willingness to be vulnerable is increasingly recognised as positive, with social researcher Brené Brown leading the charge on understanding how and why. Even the leaders of cut-throat and traditionally male-dominated environments talk about the importance of sharing. But showing vulnerability – which Brown deines as ‘uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure’ – is diicult. It feels horrible and my instinct is to hide my vulnerability, especially at work.

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