It’s safe to say that one of humanity’s biggest present-day struggles is authenticity. Take a quick look at the cultural obsession with popularity and success and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about. Somewhere along the lines, humanity was lost to the incessant cravings of wealth and fame, but we’ve made it our aim to push wildly against it. While there’s an undertone of flattery throughout the business world, there’s also an increasing demand for authenticity. More people are beginning to realize how desperate society is for change and are pushing against the status quo. In an attempt to override the competitive nature of the entire work industry with a renewed spirit of collaboration, we cultivated a few pointers:
Find your tribe. If anything poses a threat to workforce unity, it’s isolation. Americans have been primed to live independently, to focus on self, and to pursue individualism hard core. This “me-focused” mindset has been detrimental to our culture, and the only way to move forward is shifting to a collectivism focus. Don’t be afraid to need people; to need a team. This doesn’t imply weakness, but is an element of being human that we’ve deprived ourselves of in order to look put together. There are other people out there who think like you do, who are running on the same course, and who can add value to your life by offering a fresh outlook through their unique experiences. If your focus is money, you’ve got it all wrong. Sure, profitability is one metric of success, but you’ll find much more fulfillment in doing what you love with other people for the sake of passion and collaboration. When you do life with other people, it’s much easier to live authentically. Authenticity paired with collaboration is a powerhouse. The whole point of collaboration is about complimenting each others’ strengths and weaknesses in order to propel personal growth.
Fight for healthy communication. In order to successfully do life alongside people, we have to be good communicators. The rules of communication in marriage and friendship are not void in the workplace. To be real with people we have to understand that it’s a two sided ordeal, and you can’t expect the other person to do all the hard work. Be proactive in your discussions. Ask questions and challenge mindsets without bulldozing the relationship. Good communication is about removing friction in the process. This applies to everyone, from co-workers and bosses to clients and vendors. Identify areas where you can eliminate confusion and remove friction. This may require you to ask questions, challenge norms, and evaluate or even redefine the status quo. When it comes down to choosing between empty flattery versus authentic communication, always choose the latter. People aren’t naive, and they’ll see straight through your games. But they will always be impressed by authentic conversation, which is better for you and the business in the long run.
Make room for humor. Stop taking life so seriously! Seriously, people are getting tired of stiff, robotic professionals. They are looking for relatability. What better way to relate to other humans than through humor? Obviously, don’t take it too far with crude, insensitive jokes. But give yourself the freedom to loosen up and let your personality shine. There’s a movement in the business world of adding humor and personality to the value proposition of your company and we love it. Why? It’s a powerful differentiating factor. Overproduced, polished nonsense is not making the cut anymore, and employers and customers alike are on the hunt for authenticity. Think of it this way: when you’re selling your product/service, you’re not selling B-to-B, you’re selling B-to-Me. People buy from people, not businesses and you need something that will make you memorable. Throwing in a dash of good humor and laughter will give you an unforgettable advantage compared to the stiff shirt who tried to woo them with big words and shiny statistics. We have to bring the human element back onto the scene. People buy from people they trust, like, and can relate with. Humor breaks down walls and proves that you’re human. The person propels the professional, not the opposite.
Moral of the story: don’t do life alone, but find your tribe. Not just your family and friends, but your professional circle of like-minded individuals who see your blind spots and challenge you to push harder and work smarter. Become a communication ninja. In order for true relationships to function, you have to be proactive about discussions and asking questions, whether they make you look good or not. Your focus should be to eliminate confusion where possible by being the first to make strategic communication moves. Whatever you do, don’t take yourself or your job too seriously. People are starving for authenticity in the workspace, and you get to be the one that impresses them with your relatability. If you find yourself in a professional space where this is frowned upon, make small adjustments and trust that your peers with catch up to your speed. Don’t let the status quo stop you from trying, and remember to keep passion and profit in the right priority order. If you can get this down, you’ll be unstoppable.