Please Don’t Bring Your Authentic Self to Work

How many times have you said, read or thought it’s important to “Bring your whole self to work.” Or told someone to be “authentic.” To be themselves.

Suppose you said that to somebody who’s a jerk.  You don’t really mean for them to behave that way in the workplace.

“It’s a lie,” said Vadim Liberman, practice leader at The Starr Conspiracy, talking to a Pennsylvania DisruptHR group last year. “We don’t respect jerks. We hate jerks.”

“What we really want,” he says, “Is not authenticity but the illusion of authenticity. When we talk about authentic leaders notice how we do so only in the context of positive attributes. Never in the negative ones.”

“So what good leadership is really about,” Liberman says, “It’s not about being your real self. It’s about being your best self.”

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“As HR leaders, I think that’s what we should be doing for people. Help your people discover their best selves. Help them feel like they’re good enough, they’re smart enough. Don’t tell people to be their real selves when they can be so much better than that.”

In partnership with DisruptHR, TLNT presents some of the best Disrupt presentations from events across North America and now the world. Disrupt talks are modeled on the TEDx concept: Short, to the point talks on all things HR — talent, culture and technology.

DISRUPT is an information exchange designed to energize, inform and empower people in the HR field.

Founded by Disrupt's CEO Jennifer McClure, events are organized by volunteer teams working with Disrupt staff who assist in the planning. Events have a maximum of 14 speakers, who get 5 minutes and no more than 20 slides for their presentation.

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