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Great Quotes: 8 Reasons to Be Yourself on Psych Central provides support for the idea that employees help themselves, as well as their companies, by thinking critically and being themselves, instead of towing the party line.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld may have put it best when he said:
In the presence of some people we inevitably depart from ourselves: we are inaccurate, we say things we do not feel, and talk nonsense. When we get home we are conscious that we have made fools of ourselves. Never go near these people.
De La Rochefoucauld was speaking of "yes" men (and women.) Those who agree with whatever authority is saying because it seems to be the easiest and safest route.
Group Think Is Bad for Everybody
Set up for a Fall: The Insidious Effects of Flattery and Opinion Conformity Toward Corporate Leaders is a study that analyzed what many critical thinkers already knew. Flattery, agreement, and compliments toward the boss contribute to his overconfidence. Overconfident leaders make bad decisions.
People with too much confidence don't think things through. Employees working on a project should be able to contribute more than just grunt work; they have insights, experience, and opinions. If people just agree with the boss, he or she won't get the feedback he might have been looking for. To quote Socrates, "Think not those faithful who praise thy words and actions, but those who kindly reprove thy faults."
The Power of Being Unique
When you openly think and act like your own unique self, you stand out. This means when your specific talents or skills are called for, people will think of you. A business needs a unique sales pitch to attract the customers who have a need that the company meets, or a problem that the company solves. A unique employee may be an asset to her company in the same way; she meets needs or solves problems that perhaps other cannot.
The moral of the story is don't be afraid to be yourself at work. It may seem scary at first, but in the long run may get you farther than smiling and nodding at the boss.
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