Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Authenticity—the real deal.

Working with individuals and teams over the years, I’ve learned that one of the most signficant challenges people face is the ability to be truthful at work. This may sound inaccurate at first glance. However, if individuals experience a conflict or disappointment with one another, or with how they’re being managed, they often don’t feel free, or don’t have the courage, to voice their true opinions. And although they may have no problem sharing their concerns with others—who are not involved—they seldom approach the person they’re upset with, directly. And before long, inaccurate assumptions increase and barriers are built.

Whether we’re afraid to hurt someone we care about, or avoiding the wrath of someone we find difficult, fear of repercussions seems to be the primary obstacle in the way of truthful communications. Supervisors hesitate to “cross the line” as it relates to offering recommendations or opinions to their managers. Co-workers fear a strained relationship, or worse, a damaged one. Interestingly, this fear of repercussions spans across all employee levels, from support staff to executive management.

I’ve talked and blogged about the importance of positive, business-centered motives when communicating at work. Today, I offer one additional tidbit. Be authentic.

As long as you are respectful and making a genuine effort to maintain the esteem of the person you’re being honest with, simply being yourself and telling it like it is—from your perspective—can be very effective.

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