“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
― Brené Brown,
I was on the phone with one of my amazing members of my team when she was interrupted by an employee entering her office. She put me on hold, but I could hear the employee talking. The employee had a question about her paycheck. I listened as the employee asked her questions. I heard silence as I could tell my team member was thinking of what scenario could have happened, then she proceeded to ask questions.
Not one time did she defend herself or seem to be reacting to the apparent mistake or misunderstanding. She genuinely sought to understand so she could determine how she could help her. I was so proud to have her on my team.
I know I say I have an amazing team a lot. I do. They are some of the most talented, caring people I have had the privilege to work with, lead, develop, and learn from.
After she had a pretty good idea of what happened, she explained to the employee what happened and how to prevent it in the future. She also explained that she would take care of the correction, and confirmed that it was okay that it was on the next paycheck or needed a manual check cut. The employee confirmed the next paycheck was fine, thanked her, and left.
She got back on the phone and asked me questions about how to best audit for a situation like this in future processing. As we chatted, she realized that she had misspoke in her direction for the protocol for the future to the employee. Within minutes, I was bcc’d on a message to the employee, thanking her for coming to gain clarity on the issue. She then explained how she was wrong in what she had told her for future steps, and she wanted to let her know and clarify the proper process.
Once again, I was proud she was not only a part of my team, but that our employees had such a wonderful human being taking care of them. She’s only been with our organization for less than 90 days, and there are bound to be mistakes in the learning process. She could have reacted defensively and immediately pointed out how the employee didn’t follow the protocol or blamed something or someone else. She didn’t do that. She didn’t react. She was vulnerable and asked questions to focus on the problem and how to best remedy it and prevent it from happening in the future.
The power of vulnerability met the employee where she was and made her feel like they were in it together to find a solution. I hope we all approach problems like this.