Thursday, 4 July 2013

Being yourself - the ultimate approach to personal branding

Are you the real you at work? The compartmentalisation of a 'work-me' and a 'home-me' has always brought to my mind Reginald Perrin and the quiet desperation of living a life unfulfilled. Now, in an age where we live our lives more openly than ever before, people don't want to have to pretend to be a different version of themselves at work.

Being yourself (which comes from knowing yourself) means we are more authentic, passionate and informed. The video above, which is part of a great series by Radio 4's Women's Hour, sums it up for me. By not trying to be someone you're not, but embracing who you really are, you can create your personal brand without even trying. And the best bit is, people will know the real you, so there's no need to feel like a fraud or an imposter.

So how do we create organisations where people feel safe to be their real selves at work? As communicators, we can help build a culture of trust by celebrating difference and new ideas through our internal channels. We can use storytelling to create organisational understanding about the kind of behaviours we expect. And we can lead by example.

Imagine if your organisation said to you: "We want you to be the real you at work. We want the messy, authentic you, your good ideas and your bad (because it's only through thrashing those out that we'll all learn). We want to celebrate your hopes and dreams, your hobbies, your passions and your energy. And we want to help you achieve things you never thought possible." 

Wouldn't that be the kind of place you'd love to work?

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