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The Vitalness and Vitality of Authenticity in the Workplace

Today we will discuss authenticity in the workplace. Let me first ask you a question: What is one thing you LOVE about yourself that you don’t share with your colleagues? When I had a “regular” office job, I used to grin and express gratitude when my colleagues would drop a pastry (donut, bagel, muffin, and other carb-heavy goodies) off at my desk. I wasn’t offended because I knew that was their way of being sociable and generous. Food is the ultimate connector, right? The thing I love about myself (and didn’t share with my colleagues at the time) is that I actually eat salad for breakfast. Yep, leafy green kale salad with goat cheese, diced chicken, and roasted beets. I didn’t reveal this because I didn’t want my colleagues to think I was “weird.” Then I realized that eating salad for breakfast was no more and no less weird than eating pancakes for dinner, which a lot of people do. I finally shared my truth which was vital and gave me greater vitality. They may have thought it, but no one said it was “odd.” From then on, whenever they brought in sweet breakfast treats, they gave me a delicious salad from the bistro. So, what does authenticity mean when it comes to the workplace? Authenticity at work means employees feel safe, secure, and comfortable showing up as their whole selves. Staff cannot and should not be expected to separate their personal and professional selves. They should be able to discuss their values, emotions, and competencies openly. As Virginia Woolf said, “Unless I am myself, I am nobody.” Authenticity in the workplace does NOT mean:

  • Sharing one’s whole life story

  • Connecting with everyone on a deep, personal level

  • Being rude or disrespectful

  • Providing unfiltered opinions, perspectives, or comments that may be hurtful to others

  • Crossing someone’s boundaries

Here are ten reasons authenticity in the workplace is vital.

How to Find the Right Mentor Relationship: To develop a successful relationship with a mentor, you must:   1.     Determine your short- and long-term goals   2.     Identify the type of mentor you need  a.     Advisor  b.     Advocate  c.      Affirmer  d.     Challenger   e.     Coach  f.      Connector  g.     Sponsor  3.     Decide if you want one-on-one or group mentorship and virtual or in-person sessions  4.     Review your professional circle and pinpoint who has your “dream job”  5.     Determine if the person is the right fit by learning about their experience in the industry or role and evaluate their successes, challenges, character, and values  6.     Create your elevator pitch  7.     Specifically tell the person what it is about their professional or personal experience that made you reach out to them and make them ask to mentor you  8.     If the person is unable to serve in a mentor capacity, birds of a feather tend to flock together, so ask them for a referral to someone that has a similar experience as they do

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