Often, at work I have been stuck between being candid — revealing my true self, and refraining from doing so. Though the buzz word in the corporate world is ‘be yourself’; when you are yourself, it’s easier for people to understand and accept you. But is it wise to be honest to the core and show yourself completely to your bosses and colleagues? Does it add any authenticity in a corporate world?
If you stick to being yourself, you would never really try new things, and venture to do things that challenge you. It is great to be authentic and work in a place where you are permitted to be yourself. But, in such a place you would never discover various facets of yourself. Why get stuck in your comfort zone?
Also, being yourself can lead you to reveal your vulnerability but, this doesn’t always work to your benefit. Your vulnerable side can be comfortably revealed to your family and friends. But, is it advisable to share it with your team or subordinates? For an instance, if you share with your team that you are a bit nervous and scared to lead them, how would they react? They would question and doubt your ability to lead.
Instead of sharing your vulnerability, your task in hand as a leader is to build trust amongst your team members, drive them to perform and lead to hit the targets.
What if you get a new project and you share that you don’t exactly know how to execute it, would your team have confidence in your leadership? Opening up with your team and colleagues may develop a strong connect with them but, at times it can bring devastating results.
Choose your words and truths to share. Know what you have to share and what you don’t.
Some disclosures that you gauge as relationship builders can mar your career in the long run. In hindsight, it isn’t wise to be blatantly honest, rather we first need to know our ourselves before even thinking of projecting ourselves to everyone out there.
Yes, you have to be authoritative with your team to execute with knowledge and expertise for which you need to maintain a distance with your team members. At the same time, your team should find you approachable. They should be able to share their perspective and inputs, so you should lead by empathy. Striking this balance is the toughest task but, a true leader learns along the way.
Being true to yourself has a flip side. Whenever you adorn a new role in an organisation, it demands that you change your attitude and approach. If you are ‘being yourself’, you would continue having the same approach and never adapt. But, some roles demand a change in the way you manage yourself and others. If you don’t adapt, your career could be at risk.
Adaptability is the driving force and will always be. We need to make sure we learn and become aware of it very well!
Conducting in a manner that keeps you in a comfortable position may clash with the kind of behaviour that is expected to succeed. There are certain parameters, expected behaviour or approaches to succeed. When your natural self is in opposition to the expected behaviour, this clash can disturb you. Professional growth demands that you mould yourself and adopt a style conducive to drive results. This might lead you to be different from your true self.
Gradually you would appreciate the beauty of shedding your old skin to adorn a newer one and living up to the challenge. In fact, when you challenge yourself with new roles you start to know your potential and know yourself better. As against ‘being yourself’ in our volatile environment today, choose to be adaptable.
Each company does have a culture, communication pattern, and style. If for years you have been used to sharing ideas and brainstorming, expressing your views in front of seniors in an egalitarian culture, it’s hard to suddenly work in a company where your boss refuses to listen.
Being authentic is risky, it means sharing every single thought and feeling. You write your own stories of success as you build and rebuild yourself as you learn, relearn and unlearn. Your professional journey has to progress with a diverse and dynamic backgrounds.
Many people believe that you should have clarity about your professional journey and a sense of yourself (who you are) But, flexibility is a boon, not a bane. Your role evolves, and your identity should change over time as you move towards huge opportunities and better roles.
Strike a balance between ‘being yourself’ and ‘moulding yourself’. Learning to strike this balance will improve your emotional intelligence and progress you into leadership roles.
Professional life is an incessant series of challenges and you cannot quit. We work on ourselves each day and develop our identity bit by bit. Thus, gradually we develop our personal style that helps us fit in an organisation and is right for us. This needs immense courage to challenge yourself and keep evolving. So the mantra in today’s dynamic and energetic environment is either evolve or perish.
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