Authenticity is a hot topic on social media, in marketing, at work, and yes, in our day to day interactions, but what does authenticity mean exactly? Does it mean we should share our true selves in every situation? Should business encourage employees to just be themselves? That’s what the experts tell us, but of course it’s just not that simple. There are times we need to be mindful of the audience and how our message will be received, not to be who we are not, but to show respect for the other people involved. Where’s the line in a professional situation? Should businesses control employees’ freedom to be themselves? It can be a hairy subject.
My guest this week, Maddie Grant, recently wrote a post on Linkedin titled “Why We’ve Got It Wrong About Bringing Our True Selves To Work” and it gave us food for thought. Even with our true, authentic selves we still need to take a mindful approach to when and how we share, and what level of our true self is appropriate to put out there.
As Maddie wrote:
Authenticity that stops other people doing their best work – that’s not the right kind. We want to be authentic for a purpose – to do better work. Only then can we figure out how to actually allow for everyone’s true selves to be valued.
Maddie Grant, CAE is Founding Partner at WorkXO, a company dedicated to upgrading work by mapping the Workplace Genome. This work helps organizations understand their unique culture and provides the tools for culture change.
Maddie is an accomplished speaker and author and has written several books, including Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World (2012), and When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business, released in March 2015. An expert digital strategist who has helped hundreds of organizations engage with their customer base and build capacity for using social media and online communities to achieve business results, Maddie is also Editor of SocialFish, one of the most visited and respected blogs written for nonprofit and association executives. Maddie is on the Board of Directors of The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN.org) and of Artomatic, a 100% volunteer-led arts festival in Washington DC that attracts 2,500 artists and performers and 75,000 visitors to temporary sites for community building through the arts.