Anyone who has ever worked with me in the past or in fact been one of the hundreds of consultants I have interviewed for a job in the past, this article will come as no surprise.
I have always been a big advocate of ensuring that people are always true to themselves in whatever environment that is in. The ability of being yourself with maximum transparency can take time and maturity to reach however, with insight and understanding you can get there much quicker…. I just wish someone had told me when I was starting out.
Bristol, 1994, I am 21 years old and a graduate property surveyor, and I managed to secure a role with a small firm (unbelievably only 5 out of 100 of us on the course actually got a job as the market was at the end of the early 90’s recession).I remember thinking about how grown up it all was and how I had to make sure I was so professional and corporate. My social life outside of work was anything but, group of mates, out every week from Thursday to Sunday and pretty much living in a falling down apartment block sharing a razor between 3 of us! So what this meant for me was I pretty much felt like I was acting every day when I went into the office… pretending to be someone I wasn’t.
My point to the trip down memory lane is the result of this was that the real me never was able to come out and work, I honestly believe that there are so many people who literally step into a different persona as they arrive at work. The downside of this is this façade prevents you enjoying your work at the same level that you would if you were you in addition to a couple of other key factors I will cover shortly.
I am not saying that you should not have a certain level of professionalism that is associated with your level or role, that should be a given, but what you do need to do is let your personality out as much as you can.
The key aspects and what I discuss in interviews, training and coaching is that people need to believe in you in whatever your role is at work. In sales, you need the clients trust, they need to be able to connect with you, only then do I believe people will buy from you. If they believe you are being false, not being transparent or honest then they will start to consider what else are you not being honest about and very easily the sales process can fall down.
As a manager, it is even more important to lead, you need the people working with you to want and almost need to follow you every day, support the decisions you make and be comfortable with providing their contributions. The only way to do this is by letting your personality out, let your passion be seen and let them get to know the real you.
I have seen especially new managers watch other managers and try to emulate what they do in the other persons manner only to see the impact fall on its face or hit a brick wall. This is because they were trying to manage like someone else other than being themselves. You can gain a lot from watching others in terms of what they do but remember it has to fit you and your personality and be true to how you are as a person. I know many might think there should be high barriers, boundaries with your team, yes to a point of professionalism, but you have to let them in!
It took me years, in fact almost till I was 30 before I really started being myself at work and the gains I made from doing that were huge, not only to be more successful in my role, but also in respect to my enjoyment of what I did.
So next time you are in the office, take a look in the mirror and make sure the reflection is you…. BE TRANSPARENT… BE REAL… BE YOURSELF