Are You A Faux Version Of Yourself At Work?
The political realm creates the perfect backdrop for us to ponder just how congruous our work self really is with our actual self. In the same way that many politicians feel they must present a different version of themselves to the public—one that they think people would prefer them to be, instead of who they really are—many hardworking people think being someone else at work is critical to their survival. But in many cases, just the opposite is true. Just as most of us find politicians to be repugnant and obvious in their pandering, people at work can tell when we are not being ourselves. It may not be as overt as what we see in a congressional hearing, but the incongruity is there just beneath the surface—and the brain of our co-workers are trained to notice when we are not being authentic.
How to be more authentic
Stop managing your image
If you are making decisions at work based on how you will look to peers and higher-ups, then there is an excellent chance you are not making great decisions at all. Of course, we all have to be cognizant of how we behave and how we do things—but that should be a small percentage of the overall consideration in the actions you take. Consider it a warning sign that you are in over-kill mode on your image when you are running every move and decision through the filter of “how will this look at corporate?” or “how will this will impress that department who has the power.”
Bring your home self to work
Are you a completely different, better person when not working? Take some time to think about where you got the message that you could not be you all the time. It’s probably something way in the past and because of it you got out of the habit of being yourself at work. Consider what aspects you like about yourself but somehow keep hidden. Maybe you are more outspoken and confident at home but quiet and passive at work. Or, kind and patient at home but temperamental and cranky at work. It’s exhausting to repress who you really are.
Coaching Assignment: For one full workday run every action you take through a filter of truth. As you re-read emails (before you send them) ask yourself if you have represented the truth there. The same for your words and other deeds all through the day—ask yourself: Is this true? I am being sincere? Truth is the path to authenticity.