This blog post is the first of a 4-part series that I will be posting over the next few weeks. This first post is a high-level overview of what the path to strengths-based authenticity in the workplace can look like and why it is important. The subsequent posts will dive deeper into each aspect.
Be authentic, but fit in. Be true to yourself, but don’t rock the boat. Be genuine, but don’t show weakness. The guidance we see all around us can be contradictory. To be authentic, you first have to know who you really are. Sounds easy, right?
We fit in boxes that have designed for us throughout our lives. We all have multiple boxes, these boxes likely change over time. They get bigger or smaller, some disappear only to be replaced by others. What are the boxes? Here are just a few examples: Child, Student, Athlete, Smart, Not Smart, College Student, Good at Math, Bad at Science, Professional, Wife, Husband, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Aunt, Uncle, Friend, Colleague, Consultant, Manager, Leader, Follower, Passive, Aggressive, Detail Oriented, Big-Picture Oriented, Political Leanings, Religion, Race, Gender, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, etc. The boxes are our labels. These labels are given to us by nature of our heredity and genetics, imposed on us by society, given to us in the form of beliefs from our life experiences, and/or grow over time as we develop our own sense of who we are and how we choose to show up in the world.
Many of us go through life in boxes that we didn’t choose. Many of us don’t realize that some of the boxes can be changed or discarded and that some of the boxes can expand or contract depending on our true desires, strengths, and interests. Before you can be truly authentic and show up in ALL aspects of your life, you first have to examine your boxes and examine yourself to understand who you are and what value you can add to the world. Before you can bring your full self to the table (conference table, board table, dinner table), you first have to get to know yourself. In the coming weeks I will address three aspects of strengths-based authenticity:
· Strengths Assessments (VIA, StrengthsFinder, Myers Brigs, DISC)
· Time Paradox Understanding
· Upside of your Dark Side
· Individualized Appreciative Inquiry
· Signature Strengths
· Signature Strengths
· Intentional Action
· Grit and Resilience
· Growth Mindset
· Conflict Management
When people have the opportunity to bring their whole selves to work there are benefits for the individuals as well as the teams and organizations they work for.
The amount of energy that is expended to for people to compartmentalize their lives is a waste. Energy is not unending, and when people are expending precious energy to keep up a persona at work and hide parts of themselves, they have less energy to expend toward creativity and productivity at work.
With engagement comes higher productivity. And when we are able to get more done, it contributes to the overall bottom line. People perform better when they can be themselves.
When people are encouraged to be themselves they are motivated to celebrate their differences and to celebrate the differences in others. When people work in a culture that values differing opinions not only are people more likely to share, they are also more likely to listen when others have differing opinions. Sharing what one believes makes them different can also help them find support from, or collaborate with, people going through similar experiences.
Workplace happiness can skyrocket. When career cause people to take on personas that don’t mirror their true personalities, nobody benefits. When people are encouraged to let their true colors shine through and they don’t have to pretend to be people they’re not, they are happier.
Retention and Referrals
When people are happier, they’re more likely to stay in a career and speak highly of it – what increases retention will also work as a recruitment tool.
When employees are at ease in their own skin and are inspired to bring everything with them to work, instead of putting on their “work persona” at the door, we have a happier, more productive workplace.
Stay tuned for future blog posts in this series!
Work with me
I invite you to schedule a Mini-Session with me. During the Mini-SessionI will tell you a little about how I can walk you through each step in this process, we will talk about what you are struggling with, and see if there is a fit.
I invite you to schedule a time to discuss how a “Strengths-Based Authentic Self-Expression” workshop can benefit your organization. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.