How authentic are you at work?
Authenticity – Successful leaders tend to radiate congruent and consistent messages about their values, goals, and principles. So how do we incorporate our spiritual beliefs into our authenticity? And why would we?
I remember once I was blessing the room during set up the night before. My lips were obviously moving and a Muslim colleague said to me, talking to yourself? I replied, In a way, I was blessing the room and all the project leaders. “Thank you” was her response. I believe she responded to the intention rather than the belief. And here again we have meta skills coming into play. It’s the attitude and intention underlying the belief or action that people respond to.
Why am I writing this blog on such a sensitive subject? I guess it’s close to my heart – and it relates back to authenticity. In order to be congruent and consistent, i.e. authentic, I believe each of us needs to behave at work in a way that is aligned to our personal values and principles, often rooted in our spiritual beliefs. This alignment has two benefits.
First, it is a litmus test for how we interact with others and the decisions we make. If we are checking in with our personal values, principles, and beliefs when we are at work then we are looking deep within ourselves and less likely to be buffeted about by the waves of our career or office politics. Decision making becomes simpler and quicker, because the foundations are rooted in who we are and what we believe in.
Second, we gain buy in and engagement from those around us in the work place. If I can clearly see, hear and feel your values and beliefs being implemented in our team environment, then I can relate to them and understand what is influencing your decisions and goals. This understanding contributes to the development of trust and acceptance. If we share values and principles, then I am more likely to “get on the bus” and work with you to achieve our commercial goal. If we don’t share values, then I can explore what it would take to come along more willingly.
What would happen if every business Balanced Score Card included a section entitled Personal values or principles with corresponding KPIs? What would it look like? Could it include statements or questions such as “degree to which I maintained my personal integrity this month” or “Quantify the benefits of sharing or demonstrating your spiritual beliefs this quarter”. It would certainly give employees an opportunity to evaluate the business goals, mission statements, and actual ways of working against their own values and principles. It would allow business leaders to engage staff and be open about what motivated and fulfilled them personally. It would require non-judgemental and open communication to become a way of life in the company culture. I believe that this, in turn, inspires creativity and contributes to growth in organisations.
This week I challenge you to consider how you currently demonstrate your personal values, principles and spiritual beliefs at work? Consider amplifying or dialling it up to a 10, being fully and wholly authentic for this week. If you lead a team, encourage them to do the same and observe what happens.