Are you being “you” at work?

You At Work

Are You You At Work?

//My Work It Web business partner and I being our silly selves//

//Photo Taken By Christina Slaton//

The other night I went to an event featuring women entrepreneurs, and saw Jennifer Hyman, founder of Rent The Runway, speak. Over the last couple of years I’ve attended more panels, conferences, workshops, and keynotes than I care to remember. And while I like you, my readers, too much to bore you with every single lesson I took from these events, I do feel compelled to share something Jenn said the other night that made me think (I know, shocking). But perhaps it will make you think too.

Jennifer was fielding a question about leadership. She talked about how when she started her company, she based her management style off of the male CEO’s she’d previously worked for.  As a result she became intense, confrontational, tough, and authoritative. Now these are not terrible qualities for CEO’s, in fact they’re qualities to be expected. But as Jenn explained, they weren’t qualities that were truly reflective of the person she was.

Then someone gave her the advice that she should be herself at work – even if that meant being girly or emotional. Huh, being yourself – mind blowing concept right? But once Jenn stopped being who she thought she should be as a CEO, she found her company culture changed drastically. By leading in a way that was more genuine to who she was, she inadvertently created a space where everyone else went to work being more of themselves.

Hearing her story made me think: Was I ever truly myself at work?

Now, because I’m always looking to challenge my readers, I pose the question to you – Are you being “you” at work?

This is tough one I know. I’ve always thought that on some level there is, and should be, a distinction between who you are at work, and who you are outside of work. For instance, I think we can agree that some of the things you say or do on the weekends may not exactly be well received in an office environment. But I think being yourself at work is about more than that.

In my experience I’ve seen many co-workers doing themselves a disservice by not showcasing some of their best “outside-of-work” qualities when they’re actually at work. Then the more I thought about it, I’ve been guilty of doing this too. Whoops.

If you know me outside of work, you know I ask a lot of questions. I’m inquisitive and curious – always have been. However there was a period of time at a company where I stopped asking questions. I simply did what I was told and didn’t speak up or challenge the people on my team. There were a few reasons for this, the most profound being that my manager loved the sound of their own voice, and to challenge or question them, was probably more trouble than it was worth.

But that shouldn’t matter. Because at the end of that day, I wasn’t being myself. I’m not a “yes man” so why was I acting like one?

Which is why I think there’s something very important in what Jennifer said. When we begin working at a new company or on a new team, we often assimilate to how we think we should talk, act, dress, work, etc. There are unspoken rules or social norms we follow simply because it’s easier and safer to do so.

To some degree this is OK. This is the stuff that builds a company’s culture and community. However, when this stuff discourages you from being your authentic self, it may be time to reevaluate who you really are at work. Is assimilating or downplaying who you are actually doing your company, and more importantly yourself, a disservice? If you’re as badass as I think you are, then the answer is probably yes.

So in the spirit of being your true self, I’m tapping into my curious, question-asking self and posting Job Offers & Bad Boyfriends first official reader poll:

 

 

 

Also feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below! 

 

 

3 Comments

  • Friday Five – Windy City Blogger CollectiveWindy City Blogger Collective
    May 8, 2015 - 12:01 pm
  • 3 Element Of A Badass Online Portfolio | Job Offers & Bad Boyfriends
    October 28, 2015 - 5:36 am
  • 3 Elements Of A Badass Online Portfolio | Job Offers & Bad Boyfriends
    October 28, 2015 - 3:14 pm

LEAVE A COMMENT