I think we all agree that we have a persona, a brand, a perceived perception of ourselves, a mask we wear at work. Do you put yours on as soon as you walk in the door? Perhaps your mask changes on a daily basis depending on the demands of the day. Do you find this challenging? How close is your work persona to the real you? Some find it exhausting, feeling they’re unable to take their true selves into the workplace. It’s understandable, sometimes the situation demands it. I get it.
If you’re feeling like 2 different people, have split energy around the work you and the real you – here’s a few tips to help you manage with ease and integrate as much as possible.
- Embracing vulnerability is a huge part of revealing who you truly are. Having the courage to show that side of yourself that you’ve always kept guarded at work can be hard. Start small. Make a decision about sharing something or yourself with a trusted colleague or your manager one on one, if it’s appropriate. What sort of things? You may have a hidden talent, sell your artwork at the markets most weekends, love riding motorbikes! Anything you feel comfortable with! Allow people in. This starts to help you feel safe about chipping away at the mask.
- If you would normally remain fairly reserved in meetings, take one step each week to start sharing your thoughts, opinions and ideas, with confidence. Say what you really think! Walk into the meeting more prepared than normal if this assists with your confidence. As long as you’re concisely and professionally sharing your thoughts then embrace your voice.
- If you’re masked up, you can be rest assured that your team are too. Having a leader who is guarded only makes your team feel disengaged, disconnected and well……a stranger to you. If you strive to lead by example and want an engaged team, take steps to get to know them and in turn, them to know you.
- Wearing a constant guarded and unapproachable mask can affect your career. This type of perception can give the appearance of not being a team player, poor culture or company values. Take a moment to consider how you want to be perceived, what you are willing to impart about yourself, what emotions are appropriate for a work environment and what traits does a leader you admire, display?
Why should we work on removing or at least chipping away at the masks we wear? Most career people can spend up to 50 hours a week or more at work. That’s a long period of time to maintain your persona. It’s not in dispute that yes, every work environment warrants professional behaviour but by disposing of our masks or at least downgrading it to a thin veil, can boost your leadership skills, improve your interpersonal relationships and ultimately boost your career……let’s not forget you won’t feel as exhausted!
To find out more tips or go deeper into this subject and much more, contact Dione McCurdy- Career Coach and Strategist. Interested in a professional career coaching program? Like to take advantage of the ‘Ask Dione’ service today? You can connect with Dione at……………….