how to be authentic at work

In a world where we are constantly trimming, altering and enhancing our physical appearance to project the best image of ourselves, never has it been more important not to overlook the importance of remaining true to our words, values and beliefs.

At first, and particularly when we are about to embark on a new job, or take on a new role, this can be quite challenging. We all want to appear confident and self-assured, especially when our reputation, competence, and desire to fit in may make us wary of being who we really are – but it’s well worth taking the plunge and committing to authenticity. People gravitate towards colleagues and leaders who display authentic behaviour, and the results tend to be positive all round.

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, we should all strive to take our authentic selves to work. Here are some tips from Ceek on how best to do this. 

How to master authenticity in the workplace

Know who you are

You cannot be authentic without really understanding who you are and where you come from. This means knowing what your strengths are, but also admitting your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Essentially, authentic people do not hide from the truth, and they are not afraid of communicating this truth. The employee needs to admit weaknesses, but at the same time, the employer should not project an image of knowing it all, simply because of hierarchical advantage. Authentic people know who they are and treat everyone with respect.

Know what you want

Knowing what you want grounds you. If you are in a profession, or working on a project, are you committed to what you are doing? Authenticity is reflected in commitment. Ask yourself what is it that you want to achieve in your role at work? What are your ambitions and what goals do you want to set for yourself?

Know how to negotiate

A true master in the art of authenticity knows when one’s true self needs to be restrained, especially when the here and now requires that we negotiate more tactically than authentically. Frustration and anger, for example, are authentic, but in the end do more harm than good. To remain authentic, practise delaying these emotions.

The benefits of authenticity

There are many benefits from authenticity in the workplace:

For the employer / employee

Going in to work every morning does not require that you wear a mask. You can be yourself and there is no need to watch your back all the time. Authenticity may require the courage to be yourself, but concerns about protecting a fake image are counter-productive and very draining in the long run.

Being authentic means that you are able to present your arguments kindly and honestly based on your values, and this will reap benefits all round.

At the place of work

Research shows that there is a positive correlation between authenticity in the workplace and job satisfaction, engagement and performance. Relationships improve with authenticity. A mutual sense of trust and honesty can develop between employers and employees. When people are considered as genuine, there is more opportunity for discussion and communication. This in turn leads to successful, long-term relationships and the wellbeing of everyone is enhanced.

While there can be various barriers to authentic behaviour at work, striving for authenticity is a worthwhile goal for both employers and employees to pursue and achieve. If you want to be matched with the right work place, or if you’re an employer, with the right person, speak to Ceek today!

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