We all want to feel like ourselves when we go into the office, but we’re not always able to do this.

Most people have their work personality and their home personality, but how can you learn to be your authentic self at all times?

In this article, we’ll be discussing authenticity at work and how we can become more authentic employees and leaders.

What is authenticity at work?

Authenticity at work is when everyone comes into the office feeling comfortable and like their true self.

Not everyone is able to show up as their whole selves, especially when they don’t feel a sense of belonging or comfort in their workplace.

Being authentic doesn’t mean being an open book and letting your boss and co-workers into your deepest thoughts, but it can help you build connections with the people with whom you spend a large proportion of your day.

The benefits of being your authentic self at work

When people are more authentic at work, it not only benefits them but also the companies they work for as well.

When you have an authentic team, you can benefit from the following:

  • Stronger teams that lead to better collaboration and increased productivity
  • More innovation as employees feel confident sharing new ideas and being creative
  • Happier employees, which boosts motivation and engagement
  • Effective feedback, as employees feel safe in sharing their opinions and insights

How to be a more authentic leader at work

Managers need to lead by example if they want to adopt a more authentic workplace culture in their business. When managers are authentic, employees often feel empowered to behave the same way, and can collaborate to foster a happier and more productive environment.

Here are a few tips on how you can become a more authentic leader in your office:

  • Create an inclusive workspace

To feel comfortable and authentic, everyone needs to feel like they have a space in the workplace.

Inclusive leadership comes down to showing empathy, making social connections, recognising employees’ work and building relationships with the people you manage.

Everyone deserves to feel respected and welcomed when they come to work, and it’s up to you as a manager to foster the kind of environment where all of your employees feel this way.

  • Think about how you can develop psychological safety

Making employees feel safe at work is often much easier said than done. It’s up to you to create a culture of trust that permeates through your company at every level.

You should work with other managers and your HR team to highlight ways that you can make your employees feel safer psychologically. This has become increasingly important as more people are working from home, and as such are not receiving face-to-face contact with their managers.

  • Look inwards

It’s impossible to show up as your authentic self without a deep understanding of who you are, knowing how your mind works, and being aware of where you want to go.

To delve deeply into your inner workings takes time and effort. Some people like to meditate, whereas others may prefer to write their thoughts down in a journal, or simply spend more time on their favourite hobbies.

Learning about ourselves is a constant journey that everyone needs to take if you want to develop the skills and experience you need to manage others effectively.

  • Ask your employees for feedback

You may think that you’re doing a good job at being an authentic leader, but until you ask your employees how they feel, you’ll never know for sure.

Feedback is critical for becoming the best manager you can be, and it should be something you regularly seek out. Create a feedback loop within your team by scheduling regular one-to-one meetings and performance reviews, so you can keep up with progress and give your employees a voice.

Feedback isn’t always easy to hear, but it’s important to create a space where employees can be honest – even if their responses are difficult to take in. If you don’t learn to value and respect the opinions of your employees, you will not be able to experience the growth you desire.

  • Managers should be vulnerable

You may think that to be a manager you have to be tough and determined, but it can often be much more beneficial to be vulnerable.

This doesn’t mean sharing your life story with your employees, necessarily, but it does involve honesty and openness. Being approachable as a manager is a unique skill that may take time to develop, but will ultimately help to instil self-confidence and motivation in your employees.

How leaders can promote authenticity at work

Now that you’ve worked on how you can become more authentic as a manager, you can promote the skills you’ve learnt to your wider team.

If you want to promote authenticity within your team, here are some things that you should consider:

  • Lead with empathy and vulnerability, and your employees will follow your example
  • Show your employees that you care for them as individuals
  • Respond to feedback effectively, and encourage employees to give feedback to others
  • Encourage teams to collaborate and check up on each other
  • Create training opportunities for both personal and professional development
  • Offer personalised coaching to employees who think they would benefit from it
  • Create safe spaces for employees to have important conversations – even if the discussions are difficult

Authentic teams are better teams

Ultimately, authentic teams are able to out-perform teams in which authenticity isn’t promoted.

When people feel like themselves and they aren’t afraid to speak up, employees become more motivated and productive than they were before. As a manager, it’s up to you to get the best out of your team. It’s important to instil the confidence and skills that your employees need if you want your team to be successful.

Authenticity is becoming more important than ever, especially as teams spread out and work remotely. How do you think you could develop more authenticity in your teams?

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