Are You Ready to Remove Your Mask?

community leadership legacy Apr 27, 2021

It’s Time to Get Vulnerable

By: Leslie Jones, SpiralMethod CEO/Founder

A little over a year ago, I didn’t own a facemask. Now I have one to go with every outfit. There are a few in my car.  I routinely find them in the pockets of my jackets and my jeans.

Masks are a part of daily life in the pandemic world. But there’s another type of mask that I hope we can take off and set aside for good. It’s the mask of pretense. The mask that says, “Everything’s okay,” when it’s not. It’s the mask of ego.

These are the masks that keep individuals, businesses, and communities from creating true intimacy and connection. More important: These masks keep us fearful and prevent us from achieving our full potential.

When we take off our masks and come into our work environment as integrated, whole human beings, we become more effective as individuals and as teams. This is the magic of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. But becoming vulnerable and dropping the masks means we are going out on a limb and doing the very thing that many business leaders find difficult to accomplish: Trust.

Now more than ever, organizations are experiencing a major erosion of trust.  The pandemic’s disruption of workplace status quo revealed ego’s mask in many a company and organization. We know this dilemma is real and yet many industry leaders struggle with how to transform it into an opportunity. 

A recent article by Mark Mortensen and Heidi Gardner for Harvard Business Review sheds light:

“It’s critical that company leaders work to rebuild and maintain trusting relationships — with and among their employees. Those that don’t risk far more than lower morale. The chances of increased attrition, lower productivity, and stalled innovation also loom large when trust plummets.

 In virtual work misunderstandings and miscommunications abound. We, therefore, face a perfect storm of less information on which to establish trust, less reinforcing information to maintain it, and more ‘trust infractions’ to break it. Once trust is lost, it’s very hard to regain.”

Gardner, a distinguished fellow at Harvard Law School and a faculty chair in the school’s executive education programs, researched more than 3,000 senior knowledge workers and identified two distinct kinds of trust that are essential for people to work together effectively.

First, they need to believe that others will deliver and that the work will be high quality (competence trust).

And second, they need to believe that others have good intentions and high integrity (interpersonal trust).

To trust colleagues in both of these ways, Gardner and Mortensen contend that “people need clear and easily discernible signals about them — what they’re doing (actions), why they’re doing it (motivations), and whether they’ll continue to do it (reliability).”

Enter SpiralMethod. There’s no better way for leaders to cultivate trust with their teams. SpiralMethod provides a practice for becoming vulnerable from the top down. Spiraling is a means of implementing an effective and sustainable feedback loop that gives leaders and their teams an open—and safe—line of communication.

 In the safe container of SpiralMethod, we can take off the mask and show up with a more conscious, honest, and vulnerable perspective. When we drop that façade, potential for success as individuals and teams increases substantially. At first, it’s not always comfortable to take off the ego’s mask but it’s a practice that builds trust and transforms organizations. I see it happen every day.

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