What does Authenticity mean in the Workplace?

How to be more authentic in your professional life.

The professional saying used to be “it’s just business, it’s not personal.” But the new word around the office is: authenticity. What does it mean to be authentic in business?

Professional authenticity means being genuine and staying true to who you are, in other words, keeping it real in the workplace. If you create an authentic culture at work, then you are giving your employees the opportunity to be authentic as well. And the benefits of authenticity are vast: people feel more connected to the work community, loyal to the business and its purpose, less stressed, free to produce their best work and they usually enjoy greater job satisfaction.

Here are a few ideas to help you be more authentic at work:

Tune into Transparency

A big key to being authentic is being open and honest. This bleeds across project expectations, feedback, and even how you’re feeling. For example, if you don’t like the direction that a project is taking, it’s best to let the team know early on and give them ideas on how to improve. Or, if you’re having a rough day (and we all have them), it’s good to communicate that to your coworkers so they know you’re dealing with a personal issue and not bothered by something that has to do with work.

Communication: A Two-Way Street

Not all communicating has to do with talking. Active listening is another key to authenticity. It’s easy to nod and show that you’re listening – but are you really, truly hearing what your coworkers have to say? For instance, if your coworker asks to move a deadline, make sure you know exactly what’s going on. Take it a step further and find out why. Do they have too much on their plate? Are they stuck on something that could use someone else’s ideas or opinion? Or do they just need more time? Part of active listening is asking the right questions – try to find out the ‘why’ behind their words.

You’re Not Perfect

Sometimes we fall into the trap of trying to appear perfect. This is commonplace on social media but can also manifest at work. If you make a mistake – own up to it. Being able to admit when you’re wrong and take ownership of that mistake will help people trust you more in the long run.
If you take these ideas and incorporate them into your own way of working, you’ll be well on your way to being an authentic professional.

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