Active Voice: Five tips on how to bring your whole self to work

Everyone tells us we ought to be our authentic selves at work, but what does this mean and how do we do this?  In this Active Voice post, we offer you five tips on how to bring your whole self to work in a way that pays dividends.

  1. Find out who you really are

The first question to answer is how you want to show up.  What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room?  What do you want to be known for?  These questions are part of each one of our journey’s to authenticity and once we know the answers and are comfortable with them, it will be that much easier for us to become ourselves wherever we are.

  1. See them for who they are

If you want others to let you be you, why not start with affording the same courtesy to them?  Listen to them attentively, without interruption and with curiosity.  Try to understand and see the person behind the professional façade and let them know that you understand them, by thanking them for sharing their true selves.  Behaviour begets behaviour and the beauty of it is that you’re in control.

  1. Prioritise EQ

Don’t believe them when they say IQ is more important than EQ.  Study after study shows that successful, well-liked people are highly emotionally intelligent (and there are also plenty of studies that show that we only need to be sufficiently intelligent to succeed, not highly intelligent).  If you work on developing your emotional intelligence, you’ll become more self-aware and socially aware.  You will feel more comfortable with who you are and how to show up.  You’ll feel more comfortable owning the things that previously made you cringe about yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin.

  1. Promote the idea of collective intelligence

Team work is important to the success of a business.  Diverse teams that can leverage the unique contribution of each member of that team – the team’s collective intelligence – will be even more successful.  If you understand this and promote this at work, you will be encouraging a culture that values and welcomes individuality and diverse thinking – a culture in which individual thinkers thrive for the benefit and success of the entire team.

  1. If you fall, get back up

None of this is a science so expect to make mistakes.  Expect to overshare, to offend, to misstep.  And learn from it all.  Don’t give up being vulnerable because someone made fun of your propensity for tears whenever your emotions are stirred.  Don’t hide the fact that you’re the first one in your family to have gone to university because everyone else comes from generations of engineers and lawyers.  Don’t start pretending you like to play golf even if that means you’re missing out on a client bonding session.  Instead do something about it!  Organise a client event around something you like to do.  And those clients who share your dislike of golf will be grateful to you