A typical nine-to-five worker will spend roughly a third of their life at work. So it’s strange that managers and leaders feel the need to leave their personal lives, experiences, and attitudes at the office door every morning. Your work is part of your life. It’s not unprofessional to let your life, and your self, inform your work – in fact, it’s unsustainable not to. And, as hybrid working styles become the norm and advances in communication technology mean we’re always reachable, the separation between the professional and the personal is only going to grow blurrier.
So, it’s time to drop the cold professional persona. You’re not a robot. Ultimately, leaning into who you really are will make you a better leader. Here’s why:
As an authentic leader, who truly lives your professional values, you’ll inspire trust in your team. And once your team trusts you, they’ll follow you anywhere to help accomplish your vision. Work on developing an authentic personal and ethical voice to navigate turbulent times as well as defining your values and what you stand for.
When you empower yourself to be authentic, you empower your employees to do the same. Employees should be able to bring their full personalities to work and to the way they talk about the brand. Helping them develop their personal brands will, in turn, help your brand grow.
The authenticity you and your employees bring to your brand will have a knock-on effect outside of the office, too. When you’re able to relate authentically to stakeholders and talk authentically to customers, you build meaningful relationships. Customers want more of a relationship with brands, not just products. Branding must get personal through authentic engagement at scale.
So, how do you begin showing more authenticity at work?
First, don’t be afraid to talk about personal priorities and beliefs. Concerned about climate change? Bring that concern to the boardroom table. Aligning your professional and personal values ensures the work you do feels meaningful.
Next, communicate authentically. Leaders should embrace personal communication styles both inside and outside of work to build trust and understand context.
And finally, don’t just change your work to accommodate your life. Make your life a part of your work. If your brand is targeting young consumers, make a point of adopting the technologies they use and embracing the media they consume. You can’t reach your demographic professionally if you haven’t engaged with it personally.
Overall, leadership today requires embracing both personal and professional spheres. The key is making branding personal by connecting with stakeholders authentically.