#47 Can you be “too authentic”?

Following on from episode #44 where we discussed vulnerability and authenticity, today in the café we go deeper on how much of our true character should we show at work. Is it entirely our choice? Are there parts of ourself that shouldn’t be in our workplace?

This is such a nuanced topic as we have to juggle our level of self-awareness, our assessment of our work environment, the degree of comfort that we feel and, of course, our highly subjective interpretation of how others perceive us. For us as managers, and especially for the people we manage, there is a world of difference between our workplace embracing or rejecting our true character and values.

01:00 min We rarely bring our whole self out with anybody, let alone at work.

2:00 Authenticity doesn’t have to mean bringing our entire self at all times. Behaving authentically means that our actions are consistent with our true character and values. This allows us to function more freely.

5:00 Pilar has an example of a friend whose personal values were very different to the rest of her organisation.

7:00 How authentic we choose to be isn’t purely our own decision. The work community decides what behaviour and attitudes will be accepted. So in a sense this is a complex social negotiation between the individual and community.

10:00 When we are changing our behaviour patterns it can feel “inauthentic” just because we are exploring at the edge of our comfort zone. This is a sort of aspirational authenticity, we are acting as a better version of ourself.

13:15 Tim shares a story of someone who was holding back a core part of themself at work and how this changed.

14:45 Sometimes we might want a separation between who we are at work and outside of work. But this will impact our relationships at work. Pilar talks of the shock her husband felt when his manager became a totally different person outside of work.

16:35 There are situations where we can share too much, giving more of ourself than the environment is able to cope with. It can be easy to confuse being authentic with talking about our personal life. This requires some skill to navigate. And as managers we need to be careful in how we react when someone is sharing with us.

What about you, dear listener? Do you bring your whole self to work? What about the people that you manage? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

Get in touch through our Contact Form https://managementcafepodcast.com/contact/  or tell us on Twitter – we are @managementcaf 

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