“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”
As a trainer (and as a leader) vulnerability is one of the keys to building trust. What does vulnerability look like for trainers?
Getting over the need to always be right. It is ok to be wrong as long as you admit it. Stand up and say, “Heh, when I made this statement, told you this information or gave this answer I was wrong. I apologize for my mistake. Here is the correct information (or here is how I should have answered that question). ”
Accepting that it is ok to say, “I don’t know.” You do not have to be all knowing. If you don’t know, say so. Someone else may have the answer. If not, you can work together to find the answer and grow from the experience.
Being ok with not being the smartest, or most skilled person in the room. There will often be people in your class who know more, have done more or have greater skills than you. That is ok. You can acknowledge them and use them as a resource.
Talking about your past failures. Participants in your classes (especially recruits) see you where you are at now in your life and your career. They see your accomplishments and often see you as an expert in the subject. What they do not see is the journey, the ups and downs, the failures and mistakes. They mistakenly think that you have always been this way and that you are somehow gifted, or a natural. They do not see all the hours of study and practice. They do not see all the times you fell down and got back up. When you are willing to talk about your failures, the mistakes you made and the lessons you learned from those experiences it helps them on their own journey.
Vulnerability is hard. It is really hard for law enforcement professionals. And it is really, really hard for law enforcement leaders and trainers. It is however, a critical piece in building trust, relationships and teams.
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