A Deloitte study, reported by Fast Company, has found that people frequently feel a need to “cover” aspects of themselves at work.
White men felt this way at a rate of 45%. But, 66% of women felt they needed to hide parts of themselves at work. And, LGBT workers felt this way at a rate of 83%!
What would your % be?
We know that putting the real you “out there” at work gets amazing results. Our research demonstrates an 85% impact on improving relationships at work, as well as an 88% impact on your positivity and happiness.
When you put the real you at the centre of your success, everything changes. So, what’s making you hide parts of yourself at work? And I’m not talking about those wobbly body parts! I will never forget starting my first job at 13 (yes 13!), as a chamber maid in a small hotel. As I look back, I know that I did the job, and I was myself. I then moved to be a waitress at Pizza Hut (the very first table I served, I managed to spill 4 pints of soft drinks – oops!), but again I was myself. It was when I was 15, and working as a trainee chef in a restaurant kitchen, that I found being myself, becoming more of a challenge. The chef would scream at the waiting staff, laugh with me and then throw knives at the commis – honestly! I then felt pressure to act a certain way, so that the knives wouldn’t come at me! A new restaurant manager would arrive and be strict and dictatorial and in response, I’d see the team start to whisper in the back kitchen, whilst showing a different face to the new manager. The less confident or “different” staff would start to retreat and some even left.
So, it’s fear, confidence, conformity, banter and survival that creates this gap in us – or at least that’s a start! Not a small list. But one that is easily evaporated when you remember that you are the one creating it. It’s you that’s choosing to hide aspects of yourself, even if you’re unconscious of it. Men, women, most of us at some level, will put another layer on.
So how to de-robe?
The main challenge that we find, especially with women, is confidence. Most women we work with, when starting their development with us, rate their confidence lower than their male counterparts. Women have a tendency to be more self-critical than men, who have been conditioned to “man up and get on with it”.
Women tend to rely on what others think of them, to feel good. They’ll look for approval, be a people pleaser and self-sacrifice to put others first or to look more competent.
When we bring more of ourselves to work we take control of our motivation & engagement. Our clients rate the impact of this as 84% when they apply their Courageous Success learnings. So, let me share some of our tools as new for you to try or as a reminder to carry on implementing;
- Be conscious of your strategies. Most of us are different people at work and at home. Notice who you are in different environments. Are you changing or covering up?
- We tend to fear saying or being the ‘wrong thing’. How much do you trust yourself out of 10? Give yourself a score, with 10 being high. Now think about how frequently you are being the wrong person or you say the wrong thing. In our experience the imbalance is huge. Start trusting yourself now.
- Stop looking for external recognition to create your confidence. The world is rampant with the need for feedback and recognition at work. Shift your perception by recognising yourself.
- Build a stronger relationship with yourself. Take a moment to enjoy the feeling of being you. I did this yesterday walking to the Tube. It felt like tingles of happiness. Why would people not want to know you, all of you?
- Stop waiting for others to make you happy. Make yourself and others happy instead, in equal balance. If you say yes to everything, what are you going to start saying no to, to make yourself happier and more effective and efficient?
- Believe in yourself. Write a list of three or four things that make you great at your job, frame them as iAM. E.g. iAM great at talking to people, they love sharing their ideas with me.
- Finally encourage your business to put the following at the centre of their HR & People and Culture Strategies;
”Be yourself here, bring your whole self to work, it’s OK to be who you are at company x y or z.”Decide to stop covering yourself up at work.