When creating a workplace in which every employee feels valued, it is of the utmost importance to consider how the role of authenticity can turn good employee relationships into great employee relationships. Authenticity in the workplace is a rare thing, but when it is present and implemented correctly, managers and employees alike feel comfortable to build on their strengths and put forth their best effort. Here are just three meaningful ways to ensure that you’re contributing to an authentic workplace, and how the process can be life-changing.
1. Be the Change You Wish to See
In order to encourage true authenticity in a workplace, it’s important that we ourselves set the standard that we expect out of others; if we’re not holding ourselves to our highest code of behavior, in other words, it will be difficult to hold others to even a moderate level of accountability. Indeed, when we’re in a position of authority, the capacity to lead by example is one of the best tools that we have at our disposal. If things aren’t going well at work, we should ask ourselves the following questions: When times are tough, do we embody a positive, can-do attitude? When we bring our personal baggage to work, does work fail to get done, or are we able to put aside issues within our personal lives to create a supportive and nurturing environment? Do we delegate tasks to team members, or do we micromanage each facet of a project until employees feel emotionally burned out? Answering questions such as these can provide insight into how we’re doing as leaders; when we’re leading as our authentic self, we’ll often find that our employees will follow suit.
2. Listening and Learning
In most business environments, taking on leadership responsibilities is no walk in the park, and it can be difficult at times to listen to employee concerns or opinions when time is scarce or project deadlines loom. Unfortunately, we often do our business a disservice when we do not take the time to let employees voice their concerns. When we’re not listening to the members of our team, in other words, we’re not leading them, and we’re not setting the tone for an authentic workplace in which each voice is truly represented. Remember, finding time to genuinely listen isn’t always easy, but authentic listening will often mean the difference between team performances that fall short of expectations and team performances that truly make a difference.
3. How Leadership is a Balancing Act
In any successful business worth the name, the best leaders understand the difference between leadership and power. Leading by force or fear may seem effective in the short term, but the results will always be disastrous. Leading by example, on the other hand, will make others want to emulate our behavior and consequently do their best. When we’re too focused on power as a means to an end within a leadership position, we can become arrogant and controlling; when we focus on leadership as a means to becoming our best self, we’ll set the standard for employee behavior. After all, teamwork is not all about us: A coach may well be the leader of a championship-level sports team, but without the players themselves to carry out a great plan, a team cannot accomplish anything.
For these reasons, finding the right combination of authenticity and excellent leadership in the workplace can be challenging at times, but the rewards can be enormous. To create great team relationships that can last for years, the setting of a truly authentic example can do wonders for bringing team performance to new levels of excellence. The path may be difficult at first, but the journey towards a more authentic self and a more authentic workplace can be truly rewarding and life-changing to boot. And that is business done right!