Being authentic will radiate more pure energy than trying to be an ideal you Christina Lonsdale
Being authentic. That can be difficult. It is sometimes a delicate dance and one we want to be really good at. Can we be truly authentic at work? Let’s take a look.
According to the Merriam-Webster being authentic is: being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, is sincere and authentic with no pretensions
Are we ever truly authentic? Probably not. People have an automatic self-protection mode and it is common for us to hold portions of ourselves back.
We all want to fit in. Sometimes we just don’t. There is a specific culture within an organization and there is a certain need to follow it. I have experienced that myself and it can be darn uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, when you do not fit in you may be passed over for promotions or not be asked to participate in certain projects. BUT, it is possible to do really well with hard work and determination. I did.
My success did come with a level of stress. Reality was that I could have advanced farther. The culture was not a good fit. I chose to stay because at the time it was the best option for myself and my family.
So, is it necessary to be authentic at work? No, it is never 100% necessary. It is also not always realistic; I wish it were. Let me clarify. I do think it is better to be authentic. Authenticity will create a healthier person and a better workplace which is a win-win situation.
You may have skills to contribute or a different way of doing something that is more efficient. Trying to fit in and not offering a different viewpoint does not help you or the company you work for.
Having worked in Banking for 20+ years I realize that there are certain organizations where you cannot be 100% authentic. There will always be professions where it is necessary to project a certain image.
In some organizations it will be taboo to wear face jewelry or have visible tattoos. You will have strict dress codes. Your ability to speak in a professional manner will determine your eligibility for employment and certainly for promotion.
However, being authentic is much more than your appearance and the way you talk. Being authentic is sharing your personality and your beliefs. We are all different and we can each bring something to work that will make our workplace better. Diversity.
There will be things you really should not share such as strong political and religious beliefs. Those can cause friction between employees that could impact productivity. You need to be able to talk to and work with everyone.
You need to be able to create and maintain a balance between who you are and what you are required to be at work.
The question of rather you will fit in and have the opportunity to be authentic should start before you even are employed. You should have an idea of what field you want to work in and in what location or area. You do a search and start picking out possibilities. You should be able to find in depth information about the organizations you are interested in.
When you are being interviewed the organization will ask many questions. You fill out an application and you are asked to come in for an interview. You will talk to Human Resources and they will assess your appearance and verbal skills. You may have to take some tests. If all goes well you will be asked to come back for another interview. Depending on the position it may be with just one person, usually the direct supervisor. If it is a management position you will probably be interviewed by a panel. Then maybe the CEO.
Go in prepared and be honest. At some point you will be asked if you have any questions. If they do not offer that opportunity then I would be concerned about the organization. What is their culture? Politely ask for the opportunity to ask questions. They should be happy and impressed that you did.
Ask good questions. To be happy where you work it is not only about the money. It is most certainly about the culture and how you will fit in.
If you are already employed somewhere and not happy you have a few choices and a few decisions to make. Again you have to be willing to ask questions. Nothing will change unless you step up and address the issue.
You can decide you have done everything you are willing to do already and you cannot stay. Answer: quit and move on.
First, and foremost, it is important to determine if there is anything that can be done. For whatever reason you may not want to quit. You either slug it out and be unhappy or you will have to do something about it.
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, “This is the real me,” and when you have found that attitude, follow it.” – William James
Have you been presenting yourself as someone that is not the authentic you? You can change that. This may be a slow process because you just can’t leave work on a Friday and come back on Monday and be totally different.
It will be scary. You might receive negative feedback and some rejection. You have to be willing to accept those possibilities. You might be pleasantly surprised and find that the problems you saw can be fixed.
You may even find that your perception was incorrect. You may have made assumptions about how certain things had to be done and, more importantly, that there was no flexibility. It is worth the risk to find out.
Ask and you may receive. If you do not question how things are done and offer a different solution nothing will change. You have to take a chance, ask questions and make suggestions.
One thing I learned after working years for someone else is the importance of communication and it is a two way street. Employers need to ask questions and be transparent in their directive and their expectations. Employees have to be able to ask questions and be given the opportunity to participate on all levels. Employees have to be recognized and appreciated.
In today’s world it is so important to be authentic at all levels. The hope is that it will start at the very top. and that there is a culture of diversity where authenticity is encouraged and rewarded.
Let’s all work on being Authentic. What are you going to do today?
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great day.