Authenticity (Be Yourself But Carefully)

Today, we’re gonna talk about authenticity. Being yourself at work.

You see, at a workplace, we’re always encouraged to be authentic.

To show our true personality. To have honest conversations.

And this is a good thing.

Because, you see, self-disclosure builds a good working relationship.

It’s just hard to work with someone who’s totally closed off.

Now, being authentic, it makes people trust you.

It gives you credibility.

But, sometimes, the problem with self-disclosure is this:

It can backfire. It can work against you.

It’s a double-edged sword.

So, knowing this, how authentic should you be?

See, no one wants to be the guy who tells too much.

And at the same time no one wants to be too closed off.

Okay so before we move on and talk about how to make self-disclosure work for you

Let’s first take a look at the common mistakes.

What do people usually get wrong about self-disclosure.

Now the first one is like this:

Appearing insincere. This happens when you don’t know yourself well enough.

Let’s look at an example.

So let’s say you see yourself as someone energetic. Someone opinionated.

And it shows during team meetings.

You always say your opinions.

You share input by talking about your past work experiences.

Because that’s just how you are. You like being active in meetings.

But sometimes, others in the team see this as pretention. Or self-importance.

Another mistake is this,

And it has something to do cultural differences.

You see, self-disclosure can be very tricky when there’s a huge difference in culture.

I remember this senior partner at a firm, he visited the firm’s office in Japan,

And then, he gave a talk. Just a little motivational talk. You know, to share his experiences.

So, he talked about how he failed in a project.

And what he did to get back up.

It was an inspiring story. It really was.

But then, the Japanese staff weren’t inspired.

In fact they were disappointed that the senior partner just so openly admitted his failures.

So you see, even if you have the best intentions,

These cultural norms, they’re gonna come into play.

Before we continue about our topic I would like you to check out this article of deniz sasal.

It’s about how he rose from failure to success.

Alright, so next,

Another common mistake is being an open book,

Those people, they just tells you anything and everything.

And that’s exactly why it’s so hard to trust them at work.

I remember working with this manager who’d come in every day

And just tell everyone what happened that morning. Every single day.

Well, the firm didn’t have problems with that but here’s the thing,

He had a client meeting.

And he ended up sharing way too much information about other projects he handled.

He even name dropped the clients.

So you see, instead of building trust and credibility,

This kind of disclosure’s gonna make people lose trust.

So, now, being too open is gonna work against you.

But being too closed off is just as bad.

You see, no matter now talented you are,

If people can’t connect with you,

There’s just not gonna trust you.

So, you see, having zero self-disclosure

It shows lack of empathy

And we know that empathy is importance in the workplace, right?

It shows respect. It’s how we build working relationships.

Now, let’s talk about how to make self-disclosure work for you.

What you need to do to avoid these pitfalls we just talked about.

So, first and foremost,

Be aware of yourself.

Sure, you know what your strengths are. What your best traits are.

But then, consider your blind spots too.

It’s gonna help you understand your relationships to others.

Now, one way to do this, is to use the Johari window.

I don’t know if you’ve seen it but I made a video on that. So you can check that out.

Alright, so next,

Consider the relevance.

Before you share anything, try to ask yourself if it’s relevant to the situation.

So, let’s say you wanna share an experience you had at your old job,

Try asking yourself first, is it gonna motivate my team? Help them do better?

Or am I just trying to impress them?

Remember that the goal here is to build trust and credibility.

And not simply to promote yourself.

If you just wanna make friends with your teammates,

Then save your stories for after work.

Okay, good? So next, always consider the cultural context.

Like I said earlier, even if you have the best intentions,

Cultural differences can get in the way.

I know that sometimes it can be hard,

You’re bound to make mistakes one way or another,

So I guess just make an effort to understand the differences.

Okay, so, lastly, try to avoid very personal disclosures.

Or at least try to wait. Until you know it’s helpful to do so.

You see, sharing personal details, like health condition or maybe a legal issue,

It can hurt your credibility. Especially when taken out of context.

So, for this, it’s better if you first wait and see.

See how transparent your other coworkers can be

And if the company takes it well.