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How to Become More Authentic at Work – Your Business Coach

how to become more autenetic at work

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How do you become more authentic at work? This is a question a former student once asked me. I immediately noticed that my body tensed up, as up until that point, I had already spent a week feeling a huge wall between me and my student, which prevented me from truly getting to know them. Daily, I asked myself how I cold create more satefy for my student to be her true self. Up until that point, I might have chalked it up to a lack of ulnerability and an intense need to conform and be admired. By many, she would be considered “a fake.” I don’t blame them, as she wasn’t exactly introverted.

The Cause: Conformity is the Road to Inauthenticity

Many of us feel our employers are indirectly asking us to give up our true identities at work these days. We feel pressured to act and comply! In this conformity, we believe that to be accepted, valued, included, and, yes, to be seen as the best and get promoted, we must behave in a particular way.

But at what cost? Indeed, our authenticity.

This invisible cloak of conformity can lead to significant psychological distress, including stress, depression, and disengagement from work. We are more prone to conform when we struggle with self-esteem, which is scientifically researched to affect 85% of the world’s population.

The Definition of Being Authentic at Work

There is no official scientific definition of authenticity. Most scientists agree that it involves being your true self, having your own values, standards, and being aligned with your beliefs, motivation, vision, and mission. It means feeling safe to show up as your whole self and being comfortable doing so.

What Does it Mean to Be Authentic at Work?

I believe that to become authentic at work, people need to work towards one crucial piece of personal development: self-awareness. If you don’t know who you actually are, you also don’t know who your authentic self is.

The advanced class of integrity, honesty, vulnerability, and openly expressing your thoughts and feelings is impossible without it.

Being more authentic at work isn’t about sharing everything about yourself but being consistent in the way you interact, behave, and make decisions by being self-aware.

What Being More Authentic at Work Is Not?

I have noticed many people exercise cruelty or act without direction and chalk it up to authenticity. They want to express every little belief, feeling, and opinion they have, even when they are not invited to do so. Authenticity is not equal to being self-centered. That’s a reaction to fear and childhood triggers. With a hint of poor communication skills (needs to be sent to an NLP Training or a coach immediately.)

Research Insights into the Benefits of Becoming More Authentic at Work

The Link Between Authenticity and Well-Being

In researching what science says about authenticity, I came across a study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology linking authenticity to life satisfaction and distress. It found that people who authentically express themselves have a higher level of life satisfaction and lower stress levels

Inauthenticity Leads to Stress, Depression, Disengagement & Burnout

This means the moment you try to hide your true identity, you are more likely to experience stress, depression, and burnout. This, in turn, can progress to other physical, emotional, or mental health problems.

These symptoms also create dissonance and reduce commitment to work, to a person’s team, employer, and even career.

The Link with Career Development and Job Satisfaction

Authenticity allows for a higher level of job satisfaction. A person is less likely to change jobs, feels more fulfillment in what they do, and is more likely to drive towards career progression and development.

An authentic person ends up being more committed, creative, motivated, and proactive in their approach. You could say that it creates a win-win situation for both the employer and employee.

The Importance of Psychological Safety

If there is one thing I have learned about being a boss and an NLP trainer, it is that if you can’t create a safe space, you cannot create the best learning environment for personal and professional change.

Someone willing to be authentic requires psychological safety. You do this by cultivating environments of trust, openness, kindness, and acceptance—a space of nonjudgment when someone is authentic.

Better Leadership, EQ, and Growth Mindset

To be more authentic at work, there is a link with Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and a Growth Mindset. This is not just something an employee is required to cultivate; so are their leaders at work. The only way authenticity can be cultivated and maximized is if everyone does their part.

Key Components of Authenticity at Work

For an Employee

What are the key components for authenticity at work?

Self-Awareness
Knowing who you are, your values, and what ultimately drives and motivates you.

Integrity
Acting in accordance with your values, and striving to live what you teach (and preach) unerringly.

Vulnerability
Having a level of openness about your thoughts and feelings.

Emotional Intelligence
Skills in self-perception, interpersonal relationships, self-expression, decision-making, and stress management.

Growth Mindset
The belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, hard work, and a love of learning.

Ideal bodies of work I recommend to cultivate each of these are:

  •  NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)
  •  Emotional Intelligence (EQi2)
  • Positive interventions from the world of positive psychology

For a Leader, Company, or Superior

The key components for a leader, company, or superior are:

Psychological Safety
Offering a work environment where people feel safe and where creating a trusting environment is cultivated.

Inclusivity
Allowing everyone to feel included, seen, and heard regardless of their true self.

Open communication Facilitating honest dialogue and feedback.

Recognition
Appreciating employees for their contributions and efforts, and also for being authentic.

What would happen if you favored and rewarded employees who demonstrate the key components of authenticity with praise, rewards, bonuses, and promotions? Especially those who cultivate authenticity in other

How to Use Emotional Intelligence & NLP to Become More Authentic at Work

(Core) Value Elicitation

NLP offers the best way to discover what your true values are. These are taught in our Master Practitioner NLP Training. You could also hire a coach; here is a list of our former students. Or you can contact the Global NLP Training back office to check on my availability.

Creating a Threshold of Authenticity

To do this, you need to make your exercise of authenticity specific, so you have clarity.

Explore the following NLP meta-model questions for yourself. You can use them as writing or reflection prompts:

  • What specifically is the level of authenticity that you feel comfortable sharing at work?
  • What specifically are the professional norms and boundaries that you must balance with your expression of authenticity?


These characteristics also create dissonance and reduce commitment to work, to a
person’s team, employer, and even career.

Balanced Expression

Do the same exercise to determine what is oversharing, self-centered, or inappropriate.

Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

Inside our NLP Master Practitioner training, we teach the markers of emotional intelligence to engage in your own personal development and that of others.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

You cultivate a growth mindset by continuously placing yourself in a space of learning and both personal and professional development. Allow failures to be feedback for improvement.

To be honest, I think an NLP training as a whole is a way to make huge leaps forward in doing so. Other than that, you could ask yourself the NLP meta-model question:

  • What would happen if you spent 30 minutes daily cultivating a growth mindset?
  • Then future pace: what will you see, hear, and feel three months from now?
  • What specifically is the first step for you to get started?

Cultivating Self-Awareness

You can use NLP to cultivate self-awareness by viewing your behaviors and actions dissociated, through the eyes of someone else.

  1. Float your awareness of your body and see yourself on a movie screen going through your actions and behaviors. Become a neutral observer of yourself.
  2. Float your awareness into someone else’s shoes, and see your actions and behaviors through this person’s eyes.
  3.  Do the same from the point of view of a group.


Use these techniques to get to know yourself and cultivate self-awareness. Do not use them as a means to blame yourself or apply self-flogging. Be compassionate.

Practicing Integrity in Your Actions

If you saw that version of yourself on a movie screen in full and complete alignment with who you are, and acting by your values, what would that be like?

Now, imagine what you will see, hear, and feel if you apply this the next time you are in a similar context where you previously behaved out of integrity.

Embracing Vulnerability

The same technique I referenced under integrity can be used for exercising vulnerability. Start with baby steps. Allow being vulnerable to be a learning process.

If there is something bigger getting in the way of your vulnerability, I recommend hiring an NLP coach or an NLP-trained therapist.

Appreciation

Kind is cool! Just remember that. Show appreciation for your co-workers when they foster a positive and authentic work environment.

Float your awareness into their map of the world. What would you see, hear, and feel?

Steps to Cultivate a More Authentic Workplace as a Leader

The Google Aristotle Project

Do your version of the Google Aristotle Project by offering psychological safety. Encourage the idea that it is safe to state opinions, take risks, and make mistakes. One rule of thumb is that you must cultivate the belief that team members have each other’s backs and are reliable.

What is the Google Aristotle Project

Vulnerability

You can’t expect anyone to be vulnerable if you don’t show vulnerability first. Work on yourself and create an environment where people can be vulnerable.

Feedback

Ask your employees for feedback, and when they give it, act on it. This is more than making sure they feel heard and valued; it is about making real changes in the work environment, processes, or your behavior.

Apologize when you clearly misbehave and actively do better.

Relationship Building and Inclusivity

Build strong relationships, and make sure everyone feels included.

Building Psychological Safety

Be transparent, consistent, and reliable. Offer safety.

Invest in Employee Personal Development

Support employees’ personal development by offering resources like coaching, training, and wellness programs. Tools such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and the EQi2.0 assessment can help employees develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

Take the 365 EQi2 Assessment to Learn about Your EQ Leadership Qualities

Leaders should consider participating in the 365 EQi2 assessment. I administer these regularly when I work with COOs, CEOs, and all kinds of other OS. It allows for both self-assessment of EQ and feedback from peers, superiors, employees, and people in your personal life.

The outcome is that you know exactly what you need to work on cultivating.

Hire, Fire, Promote & Reward Based on Authenticity

Note what happens when you making cultivating authenticity a KPI. Be willing to sacrifice your strongest player, if they do not create a safe psychological environment where others can thrive in authenticity.

Conclusion: How to Become More Authentic at Work

Becoming more authentic isn’t something you do overnight. Start small, set a learning goal to become more authentic. Start by asking yourself what a space where you and others can authentically thrive looks like. The path to becoming more authentic at work is a process, not a technique.

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