Do you bring your authentic self to work, and how do you make it count?
When it comes to fostering an inclusive workplace culture, honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of hybrid leadership. But how can leadership teams and employees work together to ensure an exchange of values that feels safe and supported?
In a world of uncertainty where anything could happen, it’s no wonder so many of us suffer from anxiety. We may feel cut off, alienated, and as a result – less likely to be ourselves. When entering “work mode”, we put on a front to power through the day without investing too much of our emotional energy.
However, due to this inevitable lack of authenticity, workplaces are suffering. A company is only as good as the employees it hires. What can leaders do to propel those personalities forward, and what can employees do to show up as their true, authentic selves?
In this blog, we explore how to bring your authentic self to work on your terms, and what leaders can do to echo this sentiment and support their teams in the process.
What does it mean to bring your authentic self to work?
Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase before, but what does it mean? While you may feel like you do this already, chances are there is a large part of you that remains hidden at work. So, how can you coax these traits to the surface in a way that is professional and beneficial to your career? The truth is that bringing your authentic self to work can boost your performance and strengthen relationships while helping you feel more fulfilled in your role. Why? Because you feel empowered to show up as your genuine best self.
Yet there is, of course, a balancing act to consider. Bringing your full, unfiltered self to work could backfire for example! However, only expressing your true self from time to time can also risk you missing out on forging those authentic relationships. While it’s tricky terrain to navigate (with a lot of boundary-setting along the way), it’s about finding a process that works for you. Once you do, consider how this could work for the long haul.
How to bring your authentic self to work (and in a sustainable way)
Now and again, we’ll see glimmers of what our colleagues are really like outside of work – more often than not to our pleasant surprise! But why stop there? Bringing your authentic self to work takes a lot of practice. Though once having mastered that balance, it can be an approach you adopt throughout your entire career. What tactics can we apply to our everyday working lives that help us feel inspired and encouraged to do so?
Treat colleagues as fellow humans
We’re all capable of connecting through shared experiences, but why not take this beyond “the weather”? Adding some depth to your conversations automatically makes the exchange more genuine. This could involve taking the narrative further by discussing what you will be doing after work (as a result of said weather)! Perhaps you might walk the dog, or head to your outdoor exercise class as planned. Whatever you discuss, treat teammates as humans to forge those deeper connections.
Be a good listener
As you would do with any good friend, be a good listener. Now, what does this have to do with being your authentic self? As mentioned above, relationship building has to come from a true place if such connections are to have any substance. Listen to your colleagues’ likes and dislikes, and share common experiences. Forward them insightful articles and podcasts at work that will resonate with them. Recommend that Netflix show you know they’ll be into! Be generous with your suggestions in a way that energizes you and impacts those relationships for the better.
Don’t feel pressured to connect with everyone
Bringing your most authentic self to work doesn’t mean you need to share it with everyone. We all have limits. If a new connection makes you feel uneasy, you can ease off that relationship. Being your authentic self is also about being honest and knowing what makes you tick. Utilize your gut instinct to build relationships at your own pace, and preserve only those connections that bring you fulfillment in your working life. You’re not obliged to show your vulnerability to everyone. When you do, be sure it is always reciprocal.
What can leaders do to champion authenticity?
When it comes to bringing your true self to work, leadership teams must practice what they preach. By doing so, businesses stand a greater chance of creating an authentic workplace culture that everyone can be a part of. Management teams that champion empathy and value emotional intelligence can successfully move towards a space of psychological safety.
With this in place, interpersonal fear is removed – offering a platform for those wishing to speak out from a truthful place. Collaborating on the same plane with honesty can drive change in the most authentic of ways. That’s why it pays to bring your most authentic self to work, today and every day.
Driving authenticity for your business
At ADDA Infusion, we believe that bringing your authentic self to work extends into all facets of your business. From full-service HR in-house, to support with on-demand projects as and when you need us, we’re here to help your company thrive – as you thrive as your very best self.
Contact our team to see how we can help today.