Do you have a “work self” that’s more polished and calculated than your off-hours personality? If so, it might be time to rethink. While it’s important to maintain an awareness of appropriate professional boundaries, there’s also a lot to be said for authenticity. There are so many benefits to deciding to be yourself at work.
It’s important to demonstrate trustworthiness in any industry. When someone is relaxed and being themselves, you can feel it. Being authentic at work helps to show others that you’re someone who can be trusted. And, it encourages others to be relaxed as well as honest and direct with you. When you have the courage to share your real thoughts, feelings, and ideas, others are more likely to respond in kind. Having open and straightforward communications with coworkers, clients, and bosses is important — and authenticity helps you get there, in a big way.
2. You’ll feel good about what you do and say.
When you feel one way, but act or speak in ways that suggest you feel another way, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Feelings of cognitive dissonance are no fun — and they’re sure to arise if you’re being less than authentic at work. You’ll feel much better if your words and actions are aligned with your true beliefs. Of course, we all need to make compromises. But, it’ll be a lot easier to walk that line if you feel that you’ve expressed your ideas and thoughts on the matter at hand.
3. It will help you be stronger, not more vulnerable.
By definition, authenticity means that you’re not only comfortable with yourself, you’re also comfortable connecting with others. The thought of being authentic or “truly yourself” at work can feel a little scary at first, as if it will leave you vulnerable. But, just the opposite is true.
When you have the courage to act and interact in ways that align with who you really are, you’re showing others that you know yourself and that you’re confident enough to be yourself at all times. This demonstrates a strength of character, and a confidence, that reads as anything but weak. Showing others who you really are doesn’t make you more vulnerable — it helps you become a stronger and more secure version of yourself.
4. You’ll contribute more.
The only way to give your coworkers, clients, and company the full benefit of your perspective is for you to contribute. Research suggests that traditionally underrepresented groups find it harder to be fully authentic in a workplace setting. A Deloitte study, reported on by Fast Company, found that some people felt more of a need to “cover” aspects of themselves at work. White men felt this way at a rate of 45 percent. But, 66 percent of women felt they needed to hide parts of themselves at work. And, LGBT workers felt this way at a rate of 83 percent.
However, it has been proven again and again that diversity is good for business. Diverse teams are better at problem-solving, they’re more creative and innovative, and ultimately are a greater benefit to a company’s bottom line. Without the benefit of your contribution, your coworkers and your business will suffer. So, be yourself and share your ideas and perspective. The more authentic you can be, the more of a contribution you’ll make.
5. It’ll make you happy.
Research has found a real link between authenticity and happiness. When the two are measured side by side, they are found to be intrinsically connected. After all, how could you be happy at work without being yourself? So, if you want to connect and thrive at work, trying being just a little bit more authentic. It’s tough to really find professional fulfillment when this crucial piece is missing.
Being more authentic at work could help you be more productive. You'll probably feel happier, too.
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