How To Expose Yourself In The Workplace — And Not Be a Creep

A few years ago, I realized that nearly all of the things that irritate me about my interactions with other people are a result of my own lack of communication.

Here’s what I mean: In any given situation where you feel disappointed, angry, or frustrated at an outcome you’re experiencing with someone, have you stopped to think about why it is you’re feeling this way?

What first comes to mind may be helpful — but if you continue asking yourself “why” after the first thought/reason (and repeat this process a few times), you may come to a more refined understanding of what’s driving your discomfort.

What I came to realize is that in my interactions with others, I was becoming upset — or feeling let down — because I operate from a set of viewpoints that are fully to known to me, but completely unknown to the person I’m working with.  From one perspective, these viewpoints are all I know, and because they’ve been with me for 30+ years, I somehow feel others know these things about me too.

But of course that’s silly and nearly impossible.  They’re not mind-readers!

Once I realized this, I decided to write out these viewpoints in a simple list (particular to the work environment), and share/discuss them with everyone around me.  I make it a point to do this with new hires.

It takes some vulnerability — and I’ve often received very surprised looks when I do this, especially during an interview or first day on the job — but I think that this exercise has helped me give the other person a frame of reference for why I behave, respond, and think the way I do.

My hope is that this makes it a tiny bit easier for us to do great work together.  And through leading in vulnerability, I also seek to give them a platform to feel comfortable with me.

If you’re interested, here’s my list, which I call “This is Dave”.

What do you think? Have you ever stopped to think about what’s on your list?  What are some of those things?  Would exposing these things be scary — or liberating?

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About David Rosendahl
Husband, father, co-founder of MindFireInc, two-time Inc500 software company. I love building things.

2 Responses to How To Expose Yourself In The Workplace — And Not Be a Creep

  1. staci says:

    The ultimate outcome is what others choose to do with your list. In personal situations it can be sticky, but how to handle employers/employees who let you down based on this list?
    As an employee it is frustrating when your list and/or you are undermined and undervalued. I feel, from time to time, that expectations met are underwhelming while the lack is met with strife.. thoughts???

    • Hey Staci, that’s an interesting question. I think a lot of it depends on the culture of the place you’re in. If it doesn’t value this type of honesty and communication, it might be hard. I know that would be frustrating!

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