How much of “you” can you reveal at work? I don’t mean dress code, but acting and saying things the way you would outside of work. There is a fine line between inappropriate and inauthentic.

With social networking, flexible schedules, and hip-mounted technologies that keep us connected to people and places all over the world – separation between work and non-work is no longer the default way of doing things. Most workers have to figure out and manage their boundaries – by reinforcing them, blurring them, or whatever makes sense in the moment. Switching from one’s “work-self” to one’s “non-work self” is something we have to do more frequently. Many folks blend work and non-work “friends” on social networking sites. That could be a good thing, but is it?  The idea of an integrated self is appealing – it’d make life easier, but is it an equal option for everyone?

Being authentic is bound to be easier for folks who are part of the leadership “in” crowd (aka folks who fit the leadership mold – who look, walk, or talk in a manner consistent with dominant images of leadership). As we collectively embrace more inclusive images of leadership, the option for everyone to bring their full self to work will increase.

In the meantime, we may have to ask ourselves is this inappropriate or is it something that challenges our image of leadership. – and thereby places an expectation that someone else has to be inauthentic in order to fit our leadership mold?

How do you help maintain authenticity within the organization?

– Kelly Hannum

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