Being oneself in corporate is difficult. Indeed, corporate is infamous for suppressing emotions, for promoting toxic behavior, for relying on military style hierarchy and for employing an oppressing and commanding leadership style. To humanize the corporate environment, organizations schedule team building events, ostentatious celebratory ceremonies, job satisfaction programs and other vain initiatives.
However, these events only disguise reality, don’t solve employee engagement, alignment and fulfillment, and almost often leave employees feeling alienated and manipulated. Lack of authenticity can easily become boring and even traumatic.
Whereas, enabling authenticity allows corporations to peak innovation, enthusiasm and creativity and to subsequently attract authentic customers.
Wondering how to avoid bending yourself to fit into the corporate mold, to be your authentic self at work, to make employees feel involved and celebrate their uniqueness?
In the workplace, we take orders, hide our social lives, form superficial and hypocritical relationships, sacrifice our feelings and core values in order to make a living and to endanger the things that breathes life into us.
For example, leaders feel like they have to act their way through their role, they are unable to use their strengths, to be straightforward, to be genuine or to perform in accordance with their values and ideals. Subsequently, being consistent with their behavior becomes draining and unproductive.
But today, for millennial leaders, job satisfaction, self-fulfillment, authenticity have become a requirement. They are tired of the emotionless, depressing and cold corporate world, are skeptical about capitalism and resistant to the commanding leadership style, seek social progress and equity, voice dissent and unfairness.
That is why places like Google and Apple have come up with new ways to encourage employees quirks and weirdness.
So how to demonstrate authenticity in your leadership, to appreciate authenticity in employees and translate it into the corporation?
Old corporations used to suppress emotions which seemed to lead to rational decisions, to value conformity and an ability to execute orders without questions. Back in the day, being authentic would be a luxury but nowadays it has become essential to success. To be more authentic in your leadership:
- Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Take time off for introspection, meditation and prayer to get to know yourself better, to confront your blind spots and to quiet the noise.
- Learn to speak the truth, to be honest with yourself and edit the lies you have been telling yourself for years. Doing so is difficult because most role models on television, in politics, in advertisements, in our lives lie without expecting any repercussion. Hiding behind the persona that you are expected to be at work, at home, with your friends, with your family, with strangers and with people from different backgrounds end up draining you.
- Practice being yourself in all situations to build up your confidence. No need to take on a persona all the time. Identify what aspect of your life you are willing to bring at work.
- Trust yourself and listen to your instincts. Circumstances should not dictate your choices and decisions.
- Accept and love yourself unconditionally. Furthermore, adjust your self-deprecating lens and perceptions of reality to understand your true value.
- Find the strength within to do the right thing and build up your integrity.
- Increase your emotional intelligence to appropriately deal with your emotions and with difficult situations, to understand the impact of their behavior on others.
- Discipline your thoughts in order to focus on your goals and remain consistent through difficult situations.
- Be an Essentialist, avoid temptations, stay away from the media and remove distractions. Distractions impedes us from challenging the world and the status quo, from questioning leaders, finding your true inspiration, changing lifestyle. Instead, direct your attention to wise, inspiring and motivating sources.Allow differences in opinions and nurture dissenting voices to spark constructive discussions and innovation.
- Respect cultural diversity and difference of lifestyles. For instance, allow creativity, informal clothing and employees with tattoos and piercings. Also, create excitement within your organization and help employees show their playful and fun side to overcome boredom and to increase employee engagement.
- Identify your purpose. Purpose is mostly found in times of pressure, when you are forced to examine your life, your values and your walk in life. However, pressure points are not always stimulants. Purpose can also come naturally to you. With purpose, you are automatically motivated and interested in what you are doing and careful about the implications of your work.
- Take care of yourself, eat healthy and exercise regularly to properly manage stressful situations.
- Give yourself permission to explore different work environments, secure those that bring out the best in you and prosper in the right role.
- Stay humble no matter what and stay close to your family and roots. Know that the success of the project and the well-being of your team come first.
- Be transparent. Speak your mind, avoid playing games and manipulating your employees. Lead at work the same way that you will lead at home.
- Ask for advice and opinions from your colleagues before making major decisions.
- Know who your friends are and build deeper relationships in the workplace. Your true friends will appreciate your success, your authenticity, will help you move toward your goal, give good advice and provide different perspectives on one situation.
- Find ways to measure and to genuinely celebrate success. This will help to increase job satisfaction and employee engagement.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
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