Establishing yourself inside of a professional community and as an expert in your field is a process. No doubt about it- there is a definite need to be recognized for our accomplishments and gain traction for our talents. Doing well means doing your best and giving your skills the opportunity to grow and contribute to clients as well as your discipline. But is skills alone what is needed to attract the respect of your colleagues and the people you want to work for and with?
There is an odd perception of roles that has led to a drastic homogenization of highly qualified professionals. Everyone’s office looks the same, smells the same and plays the same music over the office radio. How do people tell the difference between a professional they can “click” with and those who aren’t a good fit? It’s really hard to do when you are swimming in a pool of luke-warm, beige surroundings. Do people value you because you fit in or because you stand out? One complaint I hear all the time from clients is that often being with highly qualified professionals is a cold, clinical experience that leaves much to be desired. Is that you? Is the image of “professional” casting a shadow over who you are?
Authenticity Actions are more than just personality. They are the deliberate exposure of self to others that allow people to connect with us in a unique way. Your “personality” is that you are: warm, friendly, reserved, etc… Authenticity Actions show others what is important to you, what captures your attention and what motivates your energy. Believe it or not, the touches of “you” that show up in how you dress, what is hanging on your office wall and the special touches that you bring to meetings tells people that you”showed up” to be with them.
I can recall going to meet with a cardiologist who showed up at the office in his cycling gear. Unprofessional? No! When I commented on it to his staff and others on his team they told me all sorts of stories about him as a person. I could feel the respect and admiration his team had for him as a fellow human being not just a highly skilled surgeon. It humanized him, made me genuinely interested in him and connected us in a way that would not have been possible had he been in the expected suit and tie. His team will follow him without question, they will be encouraged to be their own authentic selves and his practice will gain the respect of clients as well as colleagues. It’s his Authenticity Actions that I will remember- not just his mad skills with a scalpel.
Being authentic will attract people to you who are genuinely interested in you as a person. The expectation that as professionals we hold our personal selves entirely separate from our professional lives creates a false barrier between us and those we work with and for. It robs us from finding people who can speak to our dreams and our passions and holds those we serve at a distance. That distance can undermine trust and loyalty. If people can’t say that they have had a unique and invaluable experience, then what is to keep them coming back? How does that impact your definition of “being effective” and ultimately the bottom-line of the marketplace?
Authenticity has a strong basis in business, policy and people development. There are thousands of professionals out there. When we fail to allow our values and passions to show up in our offices, our presentation and our engagements we are standing in the way or our own success. Authentic professionals make impressions that cause others to notice and value them. They get more referrals, they gain favor with clients and they have higher job satisfaction. I was once told that I should stop wearing such outlandish shoes because I worked in a male dominated professional. Instead I chose to present myself in a way that shows who I am. Those who want to be with you will stay and those who don’t will go and that’s a good thing. So bring flowers from your garden, display your MLB bobbleheads and dust off those bits of you that you tucked away because you were trying to be “professional”.
- What Authenticity Actions are you currently using to demonstrate what you value, what motivates you and what energizes you?
- Can your clients identify you from the “sea of thousands” and say that being with you is unique compared to others?
- How do you show the “real” you to your colleagues so that they trust you when they refer?
Need a hand? I can help. Let’s keep the conversation going and discover your Authenticity Actions together. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a VIP day, One on One coaching or just to ask me a question. I’m here…