In her first blog for us, Laura discusses authenticity in the workplace and how telling the truth is important for creating strong and successful work relationships.
By Laura Higson-Kirrane
In recent years, authenticity has sprung to the top of the list of buzz words we often see thrown around when discussing the work place and the relationships we build there.
Authenticity; being true to who we are, knowing who we are, and acting accordingly is something we do every day in our social circles without even thinking about it. So why is this often not the case in the workplace?
Real and perceived expectations, social pressures and the fear of not fitting in are all factors that heavily weigh on individuals in the workplace when trying to be themselves. Culture fit is something which is often mentioned and can, in many ways, be seen to reduce authenticity in the people you employ, as it can create a standard, an expectation or an ideal. Employees will want to conform to or feel like they should conform to a certain expectation, therefore reducing their own authenticity in the process.
Something to reflect on – if we were to consider telling the truth. Shouldn’t business leaders be looking for people who know how to be truthful and disagree in the right way? Modelling open and honest behaviour in a working environment can encourage and inspire the same behaviour in others. This helps make sure we have a full understanding of the needs of our peers, our clients and ultimately the aims and goals of the business! But this is also something that could fall by the wayside if the culture of your business and the expectations set by its leaders outweigh the feeling of being able to be open and honest.
In the same way, being able to disagree with your peers in an appropriate way can also have a real positive impact; often resulting in time savings, cost savings and increased morale as people are discussing their disagreements rather than holding on to passive aggressive thoughts about how they could do things better.
But as a general rule, people don’t like conflict – they don’t like to disagree and they don’t like to rock the apple cart. Why? In the short term (and to put it bluntly!) – agreeing with someone is much easier! However, it doesn’t amount to a productive and harmonious working relationship and can often leave issues unresolved and performance suffering.
Put simply, encouraging authenticity has the potential to add a lot of value to any workplace. Telling the truth and disagreeing in the right way should be encouraged and are paramount to successful, productive working relationships which get the best results for the business. Plus, it stops us from stagnating. It keeps us fresh and makes us put our best foot forward. As well as maintaining a happy workforce with high levels of emotional intelligence, an increase in morale & a more inclusive working environment.
Interested in finding out more about creating an open and honest workplace culture? Just get in touch with the team!
Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.