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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Mar 4, 2022

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by three colleagues Alba Uribe, Quincy Jordan, and Justin Thatil, to have a second conversation about vulnerability, especially about the patterns Teams can fall into that are a threat to vulnerability and the overall safety of the work environment.


In this episode, they explore these dangerous antipatterns and how to prevent them.


Key Takeaways

  • Avoiding the Antipatterns:
    • If you “Bring your whole self to work” you are able to be vulnerable and propose ideas.
    • If you are making promises you can’t keep, people won’t feel trustful of the environment anymore. Trust and transparency need to be built into Teams in order for them to be effective.
    • Remote work presents challenges to building relationships that can foster vulnerability.
  • How does a Scrum Master create an environment for people to allow themselves to be vulnerable?
    • A Scrum Master can show his/her own vulnerability in order to model the behavior to others (asking questions, making sure the camera is on in video calls).
    • Setting up a safe environment can require collaborating or setting expectations with those who are not on the team about the environment.
    • Vulnerability requires a lot of emotion, allowing yourself to feel and connect with others.
  • Assessing the root cause of a negative emotion that can arise as a result of the process is needed in order to prevent its repetition.
    • Being neutral only exacerbates the problem instead of seeking a potential solution.
    • Know the Team Agreements or Rules of Engagement: How are we going to interact? What are we going to do when we have differences?
  • Activities that numb vulnerability are a pattern to avoid.
    • Highlighting weaknesses promote a sense of fear and unsafety.
    • When some individuals disregard others’ ideas, vulnerability is at risk.
    • All questions are good questions! Promoting open communication is the best way of encouraging vulnerability.
    • A certain level of emotional intelligence is required to promote more human connection.
  • Unhealthy comparisons are vulnerability destroyers.
    • Don’t compare Teams’ performance, it is just not effective.
    • Looking back to a different Team composition and comparing past results to today’s is not useful.
  • Favoritism is also an antipattern.


Mentioned in this Episode:

Listen to Ep. 171: Fostering Vulnerability in Agile Teams

Positive Intelligence

Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and How You Can Achieve Yours, by Shirzad Chamine


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