Who are you?

Authenticity?Relearning what we?ve learnt to forget!

How nice is it to just be yourself! To speak freely, behave and dress as you like and do it all without worrying about what others may think.

Historically this kind of freedom was limited to the comfort of your own home but it?s becoming increasingly acceptable to bring your ?whole? self to work. Employees value real conversations and creating genuine connections with their leaders and peers. They value authenticity!

It?s fair to say that we?re all born authentic. Then as we get older, we learn to suppress our individual traits and ignore what makes us unique. Consider how many pre-school aged children you know that aren?t authentic. My five-year-old is an open book, he?ll tell you how he?s feeling, what annoys him and sing and dance around the living room without a care in the world.

Compare this to my eight-year-old, now in grade 3, who is very guarded with his ideas and opinions. Since starting school he has become more aware of both himself and others. Inevitably this has changed ?who he is? in, what I can only describe as, an attempt to fit in. It?s no longer ok to kiss mum in public or hold hands and skip through the park. He has, like many of us, conformed to the norms of society.

Even as adults we go along with things that we don?t necessarily agree with. Take a look at the conformity experiment conducted by Solomon Asch in the 50?s. He wanted to examine the extent to which pressure from other people could affect one’s own perceptions. He found that around one third of the subjects placed in the situation went along with the clearly incorrect majority. He found that ?the tendency to conformity in our society is so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning young people are willing to call white black?.

So how do you relearn authenticity and apply it in the workplace while still ?fitting in?? How do you be your ?whole? self without being seen as inappropriate or awkward?

I think the first step is working out who you are. What?s important to you? What do you value? What are you not willing to compromise?

?Great leaders don?t try to be perfect. Great leaders try to be themselves. And that?s what makes them great.?

~ Simon Sinek

Then it?s is a matter of taking a balanced approach. You need to be acutely aware of your surroundings and know when to:

  • Share your opinion and when to hear others
  • Make a stand and when to let things slide
  • Speak and when to listen
  • Disclose and when to withhold
  • Assume and when to ask
  • Take sides and when to stand alone

I talk about authenticity, in my Dynamic Leaders Program, in order to build relationships and create a trusting culture. If you want to have a chat about how this might apply in your workplace, please get in touch.

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