Inspired - Personal & Professional Coaching

karen@inspiredcoaches.co.uk

Do you bring your whole self into the workplace?

Conscious leadership promotes the idea of bringing one’s whole self to work. For many this is not an entirely comfortable idea.
The concept espouses that we can be the same person in the workplace as we are at home. But what does this mean in practice and do we really want no separation between professional and personal life?
 
When I recently coached a team, one of the questions posed was ‘what level of honesty and transparency are we working to’? My response to this was to consider the problem at hand. What level of honesty and transparency is required to resolve or find a solution to the problem? Or to improve team dynamics on a regular basis? This is the level of transparency and honesty required. Being honest does not necessarily mean ‘getting personal’. Feelings can be expressed in a calm and professional way.  Admitting a level of vulnerability usually makes someone easier to relate to. Nobody can relate to someone who doesn’t have any problems! 
Such is life!
 
 
Having empathy for other people’s problems, feelings and needs in the workplace is part of being a good team player. Knowing how to read the emotions of others is also useful, but if you are good at this and a highly empathetic person naturally, don’t give it all away! Nobody appreciates someone ‘stripping them’ down! Being supportive is, however, absolutely critical to being a ‘friend’ and nobody wants to work with ‘non friends’.
 
 
Knowing whether your teammate is going through some life changing experience or not, is relevant, it may impact their performance. What is not so relevant, maybe, are the details and ins and outs of a personal or even professional disagreement. Does sharing this add value to the workplace environment? At the end of the day, being professional is about being engaged in our work and acknowledging that we wish to perform to the best of our ability. Anything that detracts from this is arguably unsupportive to the workplace environment and could even be considered gossip. Gossip is often negative, based on rumour rather than truth, gets quickly out of hand and offends people when they ‘find out’, which invariably they do. The proverbial ‘rumour mill’ works in every organisation.
 
 
So, an honest heart felt conversation, goes a mile! It also helps to support others to show similar behaviour. However, bringing this level of honesty to the workplace and ditching any facades, armours, pretences etc doesn’t mean that we are ‘the same person at home as we are in the workplace’. We all have different sides to our personality. The important thing is knowing that we can express ourselves when we want to, as freely as we would like. That nobody is judging us and that the workplace environment is a supportive one.

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