Capitalizing on your biggest investment means getting the best out of your employees. How do you motivate and inspire them to work at their optimal level? According to Brene Brown, in “Daring Greatly” the answer is normalizing discomfort. When I read this, Michael Scott from the popular TV show The Office immediately came to mind. Brene meant creating a culture of where vulnerability and connectedness are accepted and Michael Scott did just that for 9 seasons.

When’s the last time you felt vulnerable in your office? And when’s the last time a manager created a safe space to BE vulnerable; to take risks, to create real innovation? What happens when an employee does take a risk, however small, and they are made to feel wrong, or are belittled? It chisels away at self confidence, stifles creativity and ultimately causes employees to disconnect from their jobs. We need to let employees know that discomfort is normal and we need to offer support so they can feel connected and perform at their best. How are we to engage clients if we can’t even engage our employees?

Here’s some tips on how to create a culture that inspires growth, engagement, and optimal potential.

• Model the vulnerability and openness that you expect from others. Solicit others’ feedback and often on problems in the business and make everyone a part of the solution and the vision. Employees are motivated when they can see their contribution to the business, when they connect and have purpose.

• When giving feedback to anyone, sit on the same side of the table, physically show them that you are on the same team with one overall goal.

• Begin with acknowledging 3 strengths first, and then discuss one area where you see potential for growth. Give suggestions and ask them for feedback of how they can use some of their strengths to address any challenges.

Lastly failure is how we learn, so instead of focusing on it negatively, create a culture that accepts it as the norm. Then celebrate when an employee takes risks because that’s where innovation occurs. On the uncomfortable edge of vulnerability. Make normalizing discomfort part of your everyday culture and watch what happens to your bottom line.