Authenticity In The Workplace

Posted May 1, 2014 by Carolyn Stroud in Building Your Brand
Authenticity is not just about being liked or making friends.  It’s about being the passionate, brilliant, strong, creative, ambitious Career Girls we know we are.  Authenticity is about making genuine connections and showing the world how competent and perfectly human we are.

Being true to ourselves is certainly important in a place where we spend the majority of our day.  It is the key to relating to others and to becoming a great leader. Every opportunity that has come my way is because I present myself in a consistent and genuine manner.

Below are my tips for leading with authenticity:

  • Be Honest — Honesty is the key to making genuine connections. There are days we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and others when we just can’t be stopped.  Nobody is perfect and we all have our struggles. We have lives outside the office and it is productive to share our passions with those with whom we share our day. Our humanity connects us to everyone across the organization and makes us able to relate to our coworkers and managers. If we start with honesty and our humanity, the sky is the limit.
  • Listen First, Talk Second — Before you get busy thinking about what you’re going to contribute next, take a step back to understand and analyze what is going on around you. Whether you’re new to a job or have been there ages, it always pays to think before you open your mouth. Building consensus and listening to people at all levels of the organization is the best way to learn what needs to get done and how to do it effectively.
  • Know Your Strengths — And your weaknesses.  Very few jobs require a single skill set and we become better employees, managers, bosses and overall well-rounded people by figuring out where we need help.  Accept well-intentioned criticism and ask questions.  Often.  Offer assistance when it is asked and step up when you know you can be of service. Trust that you are the expert you were hired to be and know that you have fine-tuned your skills over time. Lead with what you know, trust your gut and everything else will fall into place.
  • Be You.  Unequivocally. I am unabashedly enthusiastic.  My passion is present in everything I do and although some might not love it, it is part of my work style. I bring this attitude, with a necessary dose of humility, to everything I do throughout the day. We have all had experiences in our life and career that give us a unique viewpoint that only we can bring to the table. Own your attitude, your leadership style and the integrity with which you live every part of your life.

It is far too exhausting, alienating, and often destructive to try and be someone we think we ought to be, instead of the wonderful multi-faceted person we are. Bringing our passions and experiences to everything we do makes the world a better place to live and work.

About the Author

Carolyn Stroud

Carolyn Stroud works in finance at a commercial real estate firm in Chicago. Her previous experience includes mortgage banking, leasing, running a start-up and captaining an adult co-ed kickball team. Originally from Detroit, she has an undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Carolyn is a voracious reader and passionate about growing outside her comfort zone. She recently completed her second marathon and is always up for a challenge.