We need a new way to lead ourselves and others at work.
Building a whole-self, authentic workplace that welcomes “whole people” to work ensures the optimal environment for thinking. This thinking is the backbone to an innovative culture. And innovation in this day and age is the key to success.
We need to work the human edge.
Six steps to start building an authentic organisation:
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1. Encourage people to understand themselves
Use tools such as 360 degree evaluations, MBTI, Social Styles, DISC or enquiry methods to support people in finding out more about themselves. Using a simple tool such as the Johari window can help frame this new knowledge into a simple easy-to-understand tool.
2. Be genuine and vulnerable yourself
Being vulnerable doesn’t mean letting it all hang out. It really means taking the risk to let others into your world. A great place to start is to share with people what you are learning at the moment. This not only role models vulnerability, but also a commitment to self development.
3. Reward authenticity
Within innovative cultures, how people think is all important. When people feel at ease, their brains are scientifically proven to be more capable of creative thought. When you see authentic thought, encourage it. Point it out, give out proverbial pats on the shoulder, engage in conversation over it.
When people are at ease, they are more capable of creative thought.
4. Create opportunities for people to be themselves
Whether it is making it OK to personalise work stations, bring pets to work, wear an occasional onesie, or talk openly about lessons learnt whilst on maternity leave; make it OK for people to be themselves. Trust me, the organisation will benefit from it.
5. Tweak systems to promote authenticity
It’s not enough to have good intentions. In organisations the systems need to be in line with our intentions. Therefore audit them to ensure they are promoting authenticity. For example, is there a question prompt for a manager to enquire into a team member’s learning outside of work? Is it possible to create a bring-your-kids-to-work day?
Your systems need to be in line with your intentions
6. Base your leadership development around people’s strengths
Leadership development is all about encouraging people to become a better version of themselves. Ensure your leadership development programme is based around what people are already good at. Research shows that developing around your strengths yields far greater returns than compensating for your weaker areas - with a few exceptions.
Wisdom at Work are practitioners in the art of building authentic workplaces.