Professional Feature: Authenticity


About The Professional Feature 'Authenticity'

Companies and institutions attach more and more value to 'authentic' employees. Because they are closer to themselves and work from their deepest meaning, they are often more successful than their non-authentic colleagues. What is authenticity exactly? Can you develop it and if so how?

What is authenticity?

Authentic means real, reliable, not counterfeit, credible, true. If we translate that into behavior, it means as much as being congruent in thinking and doing. An authentic person is true to his own personality. He is himself, acts from his own motives, is aware of what he wants and what he stands for. Attitude characteristics are:

- You are open to new experiences
- You know what is really important to you
- You are aware of your most important drivers and act accordingly
- You come across as 'real' in your behavior and attitude
- You are open and honest to yourself and to others

Being authentic means that you show up, show yourself. That doesn't mean that it's wise to burst out in anger under the guise of 'this is just how I am' when your boss taps you on a finger during a meeting. Zooming out remains important; that means that you list all options and make the best choice from them. Sometimes doing nothing for a while can be a very good option, because you can make a wiser decision if the worst emotion has faded away.

Authenticity or selfishness?

Authenticity is sometimes confused with selfishness. Authenticity means that you go your own way, regardless of the (alleged) expectations of others. After all, your own identity and your personal life path are central. But authenticity is not a license to take nobody into account. You must also be able to build and maintain relationships. You express your authentic identity in society, in contact with others. Suppose you are a manager. You tell your employee that you need the turnover figures for the past month for a meeting within an hour. Your employee is struggling. A less authentic manager will then become somewhat compelling: it must happen, because I say so, done. This manager feels cornered and acts primarily from his ego. A more authentic supervisor will ask why the employee can't meet his request and will try to reach his goal in other ways - by convincing or negotiating.

What are the benefits of authenticity?

The closer you are to yourself and act on the basis of your personal values, the better you are able to distinguish yourself from others and to be able to put your own brand - your personal brand. Why do you do what you do? This includes your magnet action, the reason why someone wants you or your products or services.

Can you develop authenticity?

Every person is born authentic, but with the ascent of the years you build up wrappers. For example, children of divorced parents often develop the tendency to always want to maintain harmony. At a later age, for example, this manifests itself by avoiding any conflict in the workplace and that is not always a useful feature. When you get rid of such wrappers you become much more effective, you lose less negative energy and you eventually become authentic again.

A condition for authenticity is therefore that you know who you are and what is really of value to you. That also means that you've your weaknesses knows and accepts this. In addition, it's important that you can look at yourself, also at your weaknesses, curiously and openly. Be open to feedback; this way you get to know yourself better and you can develop. This openness requires that you are fully convinced of your own integrity, because only then can you approach the world with an open mind.

How do you show that you are authentic when applying?

Many selectors rely on their gut feeling or intuition to determine whether an applicant is authentic, others use role play or take a test. Anyway: stay yourself. If you say that you feel very calm and confident while the sweat gushes over your face and you've red spots on your neck, you don't seem credible. Do not give socially desirable answers, but distinguish yourself from your competitors through honest and concrete examples in which you clearly show your unique qualities.

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