authentic in the workplace

Finding your true self: How to be more authentic at work

What are your values and beliefs? How do you express them? To be authentic is to act in ways that show your true self and how you feel. In today’s world dominated by technology, where people strive to be liked, it is harder than ever to be authentic.

However, authenticity is important in all facets of life, including the workplace. Indeed, Rod Matthews and Psychology Today explore why authenticity is important and how you can be more authentic in the workplace.

Why is authenticity at work important?

Being authentic can improve your mental health by creating a happier and healthier work environment, which allows you to build trust with others.  Building trust with others can lead to increased career opportunities. By being authentic, you also encourage others to be authentic.


Tips to be more authentic at work


Start small

Acting truthfully or opening up about your personal life can be challenging. Start by revealing basic information about yourself. For example, you might reveal you are in a relationship, or live in a particular area.


Show accountability and vulnerability

If you make a mistake at work, own up to it and do what you can to correct it. Share your mistakes with others at work. Let them know you don’t always get everything right.


Share experiences

Consider sharing personal or professional experiences when appropriate. By sharing experiences, you can make yourself more relatable to colleagues.


Have compassion

It’s important to be empathetic to a colleague who makes a mistake or is going through a challenging time. Make sure to also take care of yourself. If you make a mistake, don’t be too hard on yourself.


Establish Relationships

Recognise that developing authenticity takes time. You don’t meet someone for the first time and start revealing personal secrets.  It’s a good idea to establish relationships with people before sharing private information with them.


Build trust

As you build trust and relationships, you might share more information.


Be honest

It’s easy to tell white lies to get out of sticky situations. You may think these lies don’t harm anyone. However, the more lies we tell, the less authentic we become.

If something hasn’t gone the way you hoped, admit it. If your schedule is running behind, don’t hide it. If a colleague asks for an opinion, be truthful. Make sure you set boundaries. For example, let colleagues know if there are topics you don’t want to discuss and explain why.


Listen to others

Listen to what other people have said. Ask them questions or react to what they say.


Follow up   

If a colleague appears to share one of your interests, you should follow this up later.


Ask for honest feedback

Ask others to be honest with you. Ask for feedback on your work and decisions.


Show appreciation

Show your gratitude when somebody assists you in a task or shares their personality.


Invite colleagues to events outside of work

If you get on well, consider inviting your colleagues to dinner or a social gathering. This will allow you to act authentically outside a professional setting.


Express yourself through clothing

Dress in clothing that meets company requirements but expresses your personality. Clothing can allow you to share your personality without having to reveal personal information.


Look for opportunities to grow

Your personality will change throughout your life. Allow yourself to adjust to these changes. Take up opportunities for personal and professional development.


Consider context

While authenticity is important, so is professionalism. There will be times at work when it isn’t appropriate to joke around or reveal personal information.

When applying for jobs, it is important to present yourself authentically.


expressive young woman

Public Service Resumes offer various services to help you craft your own authentic image. These include resume writing and our LinkedIn profile writing service.