18 months ago, I sat in my mid-year review with my boss. He’d gone through an exercise with the wider team to get feedback from the team about the senior managers (if it wasn’t for the fact we had also been asked to carry this out with our own teams, I may’ve now been suspicious that this was his ulterior motive behind chopping the senior management team down from 3 to 2!). One of the positives from my team, was that they liked my authenticity.
I didn’t really understand what this meant in work terms, so I went home and googled it.
According to Psychology Today there are a number of characteristics which make a person authentic. They:
Although I’ve never actively set out to be authentic, it is something I now pride myself on.
Reasons to be authentic in the workplace
Below are 5 reasons why I believe my team felt I was authentic:
- I don’t try to be someone I’m not. I am who I am (I’ve had Ben’s Brother’s hit “I am who I am” stuck in my head all day thanks to this post)! I know many people have different persona’s for different audiences. Some people have a different persona in the work place compared to the one they have at home. Others have a different persona in front of their staff, and another persona in front of their clients. Whilst my preparations for different work audiences may be different, whoever they are, they still get me.
- People always know where they stand with me. I may sometimes come across as being a bit blunt, but I tend to just say it how it is. Oh, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. Call me overly emotional, overly open, or just plain old blunt, I find it difficult to hide my emotions. This isn’t always a positive thing of course. I’m having to learn when to hide my emotions, and to be selective as to who I express them in front of, but I like to think that people are never left second guessing with me, and hopefully my team appreciates this.
- I’m a realist. I’ve worked with people in the past who’ve been overly positive, as well as people who’ve been overly negative. The positive often don’t stop to consider what could happen if things don’t quite go to plan, or pretend everything’s ok until it’s not! The negative drag everyone else down with them and are less likely to keep staff focused and motivated. As a realist, I like to think I try to keep things relatively balanced. I like to remain positive, but I’m also aware of the risks, so if things don’t quite work out, I’m prepared for it.
- I learn from your mistakes. I’ve made many mistakes throughout my career. Yet, I’ve always learnt from them. It’s rare that I make the same mistake twice. I see mistakes as an opportunity for growth, and an opportunity to learn.
- I’m thoughtful and empathetic. Birthdays, weddings, someone going off on maternity leave, weekend plans or simply someone having a bad time, I always try to make my team feel like they are important to me. For example, I recently forgot a new member of the team’s birthday. As a thank you to her for starting the role in such a positive way, as well as a belated birthday celebration, I treated her and another colleague to lunch. Another member of staff is due to get married shortly, so I’ve organised a collection to get him and his new wife a small gift. It’s not all about celebrations of course. Sometimes it’s just being there for someone, and although you may not be able to help them directly, you can reassure them and help them to find the support they need.
Don’t get me wrong, being authentic doesn’t make me a perfect manager or even the perfect employee by any means. I’m far from that. But I do pride myself on having a degree of authenticity about me.
It’s not just in the workplace where my authenticity get’s noticed. In my personal life it seems to come through too. Especially when I write.
Why writing authentically is important to me
I like to keep my writing and my social media real. I might occasionally play around with new styles of writing, or different social media templates, but I don’t ever try to be something I’m not.
One of the things which annoys me about some blogger, is when they seem to lose themselves overnight. One day they’re posting fantastic content, the next, it’s all #ADS #GIFTED #SPONSOREDPOSTS.
Ok, so before anyone grumbles, I know I wrote a #GIFTED post a couple of weeks ago, but it was one post out of 100’s, and I still made sure it was authentic and relevant to me, who I am, and what I represent.
Perhaps it’s envy which leaves me reeling over these posts? Nope. Not even that. I love to see other bloggers become successful. Some of my closest friends are from the blogging community, and some of them have become my biggest cheerleaders, as I have for them too.
My biggest bugbear about the sudden switch, is that I simply enjoyed the writers original work. Overnight, they just seemed to forget about their audience, and instead focus on making money. I do get the financial element to this change, but I genuinely hope if I find myself in the lucky position to make money from my blog in the future, that I don’t forget my followers, and the reasons I started blogging in the first place.
5 Reasons for being an Authentic Blogger
- Life isn’t always a bed of roses. Sometimes, life can be pretty shit. Other times, it can be great. More often than not, life is just pretty normal. For me, it’s important that my readers and social media followers see the ups, the downs and the in between. Life isn’t perfect, and it’s important to make sure that people (especially young and vulnerable people), know that.
- I’ve had my fair share of troubled times, which I think (and hope) makes my content relatable. I try to turn negatives into positives, and I always practice what I preach.
- Life can sometimes be a struggle. When it is, I’m not afraid to talk about it. In fact writing about it normally helps me to regain clarity and perspective and helps me to find balance and harmony in my life. It’s crucial in this day and age to keep things in perspective, not just for your own mental well-being, but for others too.
- More often than not, I don’t plan my content. I just sit down and write, and let my head, my heart, and my pen do all the work.
- I don’t really have a niche. My blog is my way of clearing my head of a lot of junk. Sometimes I write about well-being and self care, other times I write about travel, and sometimes, I just write about life. I’m always reading about the importance of having a niche market. Again, I understand why it can be helpful, I’m just not sure it’s very me.
That’s enough about me!! How do you feel about authenticity? Is it something you ooze, or do you have a multitude of cloaks you hide behind?
What makes you authentic?