20 October 2021

What The Best Leaders Already Know About Being Yourself At Work

One of my biggest inspirations is Brené Brown. She’s widely known for her amazing books and TED talks that are all about encouraging vulnerability and authenticity.

Here’s one of the quotes that came from her and that I think will be the perfect start to today’s blog post:

“...it's challenging to be real in a world that wants us to fit in and please everybody. Authenticity is not a default behavior: It can seem easier just to be what others want us to be, whether that means nodding in agreement when our boss says something we don't actually believe or choosing ridiculously uncomfortable shoes to impress a new group of friends (guilty!). There are so many messages telling us how to look and behave; to tune them out, we may need to take action.” Brené Brown

Leaders, buckle up. It’s time to talk about how to be more confident and to start being yourself at work. I know that can sometimes feel difficult. But, in my experience, it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do - both for your own happiness AND for your team.

Doing what you’re “supposed to”...

I created an image in my head of what I thought a leader was “supposed to” look like. That image wasn’t aligned with who I truly was, it was artificial. It didn’t feel right to me.

I couldn’t take it anymore because it was exhausting and limiting, so I decided to try doing things MY way, show up as myself, and encourage my team to do the same.

What happened after was amazing.

My team felt free and empowered to be themselves too and share their thoughts even though they might’ve been different from others. They worked better together, solving problems, not seeking blame.

Here’s how you can do it too.

How to be more confident and show up authentically at work

Get to know yourself

No, this isn’t about your favourite colour or ice cream flavour.

This is about knowing who you are as a human being. Where did you come from, what do you represent, what are your values? What do you care about? What makes you happy?

Also, what’s your vision? Your goals?

Invest time and effort in yourself. Sit down and reflect. Get clear on what “authentic” means to you.

To lead and empower people to do something, set an example yourself. Because, inevitably, difficulties will appear. But you’ll be able to stand your ground, inspire, and speak from experience when leading.

Set the tone

“Great leaders don’t set out to be great leaders. They set out to make a difference.” Lisa Haisha

In a world of “professionalism” and “diplomacy”, it can be hard to find the courage to think outside the box and show up as your true self instead of conforming to the norms.

But more often than not, your team longs for being able to let their personalities shine through. It just makes life and work so much more interesting and fun. It helps motivate them, and yourself.

And as their leader, you have the power to set the tone and show them it’s ok to be yourself.

Embrace diversity

I once heard a CEO say “My greatest fear is having a team full of like-minded people. That’s just going to lead nowhere”.

From different cultural characteristics we can share and explore to different opinions that can drive innovation and growth, striving for a diverse team is one of the best decisions you could make.

Also, in a world where BAME people are underrepresented, building and nurturing a diverse team (and ensuring everyone has role models they can identify with) is a powerful step towards equity and inclusion.

Your role as a leader is to grow and foster a diverse team who feel encouraged to share their thoughts and work together.

When can authenticity backfire?

Prestigious sources like Harvard Business Review love the idea of being yourself at work and its role in leadership, but some articles advise doing it carefully.

One of the reasons for that is the context in which you decide to behave in a certain way.

For example, if you’re a person who likes to share their feelings and thoughts a lot, people from a business meeting, if those are completely irrelevant, won't respond well to that and you’ll harm your credibility and effectiveness.

Another example would be in a diverse, multicultural setting. Different cultures have different characteristics, and you, as the leader, should be mindful of your words and actions and how they can be perceived.

It takes practice to be yourself while also adapting to the situation. But the first and most important step is to keep in mind the context.

Bringing it all together

Deciding to be yourself at work is both amazing AND tricky, as you can probably tell from this blog post.

But at the end of the day, what’s important is doing the things that make you feel alive, staying true to yourself, being more confident at work, and empowering your team to do the same.

Is the tricky part still super scary? I’m sure you have a lot of fantastic personality traits that will light up your environment when you decide to let them shine.

My one-off sessions will enable you to do just that. I’ll guide you through the process and empower you to take action.

You’ll feel much more energised and like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. These are normally priced at £149 and I currently have limited spots available at just £99. Book yours today here using the code PROMO. See you there!

Jeni Carroll

As a certified life coach, Jeni helps busy, successful women ditch overwhelm & selfdoubt & rediscover their energy, passion & freedom with proven strategies.

Ready to ditch the overwhelm and self-doubt? Start your transformation now.