Leave Your Whole Self at Home – Only Bring Your Best Self to Work - American Society of Employers - Mary E. Corrado

Leave Your Whole Self at Home – Only Bring Your Best Self to Work

A few years back the trend in HR was to bring your whole self to work. We promoted being psychologically safe at work and not hiding our true selves.  While there is still some validity to this notion, the new emerging trend as many of us return to the office, is to leave part of ourselves at home and only bring our best, professional self to work.

It’s not a bad idea to leave your personal issues and complaints at home. They aren’t work related, so why bring them to work?  Maybe this is part of the reason so many are dreading going back to the office – knowing they now have to not only deal with their own issues but listen to everyone else’s issues.

What if we kept work just about work? Would it be a healthier environment or a lonely one? I enjoy getting to know all the ins and outs of my team, but does everybody? Are some of us getting too comfortable being our authentic selves at work?  Back in the 80’s and 90’s we thrived on being professional and were told to “leave our emotions at the door.” Maybe there is a compromise between this and bringing our “authentic self” to the office.

I read an article on LinkedIn recently and this quote from Elizabeth Brady, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Principal Financial Group, struck me: “As the employee, you also need to understand that the onus is on you to make sure your ideas are front and center, and if bringing your whole, authentic self to work distracts from this, it behooves you to make an adjustment. This can make figuring out exactly which aspect(s) of your whole, authentic self to leave at home, and which are appropriate for work without the risk of being passed up for a promotion, loosing (or never gaining) influence, etc., or damaging your personal brand and reputation a challenge.”

So, maybe, instead of bringing our whole self to work, we should bring our best self to work. In the LinkedIn article by Annette Harris, president and founder of ShowUp!, she shares this formula for bringing your best self to work:

Your Purpose + Your Value Proposition + Your Authentic Self – Credibility Killers

I think now is the time to encourage employees to bring their authentic selves to work, but also their best selves.  We don’t want anyone putting on a front, but it’s OK to filter out the part of yourself you want kept personal or for home.

I try to get to know my employees as much as they want to be known. In many cases, I can tell if an employee is not doing well, and something must be going on in their personal lives. Since I care about all of my employees, I would find it difficult to not learn more and try to help…is that overstepping? As stated in an earlier blog, we do treat employees like family and would all be interested in helping when a team member needs it.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Email me at [email protected].

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