Have you ever wanted to talk about a problem or a situation at work, but were you afraid of it? Or did you want to share something about yourself, but worried people could judge you? Or pretend to understand something professional that you do not really have? If you're anything like me and most of the people I know, you could easily answer yes to some of these questions.
However, to be successful in today's business world, we must be willing to bring ours whole self at the work we do This means presenting ourselves authentically, leading with humility and remembering that we are all vulnerable and imperfect human beings who do the best we can. It also means having the courage to risk, talk, ask for help and connect with others in a genuine way, letting us see.
Of course, it is not always easy to present yourself in this way, especially at work, for a variety of reasons: our roles and personal background, the cultural norms of where we work, previous experiences and more. And we may fear that there will be repercussions from employees or colleagues, if we do not conform or seem infallible.
In my new book, Bring all your self to workI maintain that regardless of where you work, what kind of work you do, or who you work with, you can show more of your true self and become more satisfied, effective and free. And whether you're an entrepreneur, a leader or just someone who wants to have more influence, driving with authenticity allows you to influence your team's culture so they can be even more authentic, which will unlock more creativity, connectivity and performance for your company.
Here are five specific things you can do to be more effective, successful and busy at work, encouraging others to follow your example.
1. Be authentic
The foundation of bringing your whole self to work is authenticity, which consists in showing oneself honestly, without hypocrisy and with vulnerability. I call this the Equity of Authenticity: Honesty – Self-Righteousness + Vulnerability = Authenticity. It takes courage to be authentic, and it is essential for trust, growth and connection.
Some simple things we can do to be more authentic at work are to admit when we do not know something, recognize when we have made a mistake or ask for help in a genuine way. All of this requires courage and requires us to embrace vulnerability and let go of our need to be right.
A recent study by Mark Fotohabadi and Louise Kelly published in the Journal of General Management has shown that the most authentic leaders tend to engage in active and constructive conflict behaviors, things like broadening the goal to consider alternative points of view or admitting one's part in creating conflicts. In other words, being authentic is essential to resolve the conflict at work productively and positively. It has also been linked to a smaller burnout, because it helps people to more easily deal with jobs that involve a lot of emotional work.
2. Use the power of appreciation
Showing appreciation is essential for building strong relationships, keeping negative things in perspective and empowering teams. However, it is different from offering recognition. We often think of these things as the same, especially in professional settings; but recognition is based on results or performance – what people do or produce – while appreciation is about the intrinsic value of people or who they are.
Of course, we want to do our best to effectively recognize successful results such as sales results, completed projects or implemented ideas. But behind every success or failure there is a living and breathing human being. Appreciation is focused on our gratitude for the effort of the people, as well as on the human qualities and characteristics we possess that we value, such as humility, kindness or humor, regardless of the results. It is something we can express at any moment.
According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, a job recruitment and employer website, 53% of employees said they would stay longer in their company if they had more appreciation from their boss and 81% of employees said they were motivated to work harder when they felt appreciated. And research suggests that gratitude – a close cousin of appreciation – can really transform workplaces, bringing employees greater health benefits, happiness and job satisfaction, and better relationships with colleagues.
3. Focus on emotional intelligence
Your emotional intelligence (EQ) affects both of you (being aware of yourself and being able to manage your emotions) and how you relate to others (being socially aware and managing relationships). EQ is often more important for success than your professional skills, IQ and experience, according to many experts. Some surveys reveal that employers appreciate EQ as much or more than other job skills.
David Caruso from Yale's Center for Emotional Intelligence states: "It is important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of the heart above the head, it is the only intersection of both. " Research suggests that having greater EQ can help prevent work burnout and can improve performance in certain tasks.
One of the best ways to build our EQ is to cultivate a regular practice of awareness. Whether it's a specific form of meditation or simply using one of the new popular apps, taking time to stop, breathe and focus on a regular basis allows us to be more self-aware and manage our emotions more effectively . And awareness often leads to more compassion and understanding of others, which helps us to manage our relationships successfully.
4. Embrace a growth mentality
Having a growth mentality means getting closer to your work and your life with the awareness that you can improve anything, if you are willing to work hard, dedicate yourself and practice. It covers everything that you experience (even, indeed, above all, your challenges) as an opportunity for growth and learning.
Stanford professor Carol Dweck makes a distinction between a mentality of growth and a fixed mentality (the belief that our talents are innate gifts with which we are born or not and that can not be changed). Through his research, Dweck found that employees with a growth mindset are 47% more likely to say that their colleagues are reliable, 34% more likely to have a strong sense of commitment to the own organization and 65% more likely to say that their organization supports risk taking than their fixed-minded peers.
Trying new things, especially those that scare us and push us out of our comfort zone, is a great way to practice growth mindsets.
5. Create a championship team
The people you work with and the environment around you have a significant impact on your ability (or incapacity) to show you, engage and prosper fully. At the same time, the more you are willing to take your whole self to work, the greater the impact you can have on others. Creating a team for the championship means building a culture that is favorable to people who are themselves, who take care of one another and who are willing and able to do a great job together.
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Google conducted an in-depth research project between 2012 and 2014 called Project Aristotle, aimed at determining the key factors contributing to highly performing teams. It involved collecting and evaluating data from 180 teams across the company, as well as examining some of the most recent studies in the fields of organizational psychology and team effectiveness. According to the results, the most significant element of the team's success is the so-called psychological security: a culture of trust in which people feel safe to talk, take risks and know that they will not be ridiculed for making mistakes or dissenting .
When these actions – speaking, taking risks and possessing errors – are modeled and celebrated, especially those in positions of command, it allows the team and the environment to be as psychologically safe as possible.
These concepts are easy enough to understand on the surface. But like many important aspects of life, growth and business, it is not the understanding of them that makes the biggest difference; it's them application.
And the application of these ideas requires true courage. The most important activities, relationships and goals for us (both personally and professionally) will always involve vulnerability, which Dr. Brené Brown of the University of Houston calls "emotional exposure, risk and uncertainty". the novelty is that if you are willing to bring all of yourself to work, you can expand the impact, the influence and success of your work and your life … and help others do the same .