Hiding Your True Self Could be Detrimental to Your Career

Joe Weinlick
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It is common for employees to adopt a workplace personality when stepping into the office. In fact, ongoing research by the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion shows that 61 percent of the workforce masks their real personalities to fit in with their co-workers. You may be doing yourself an injustice by masking who you really are when working with colleagues, which can ultimately hold you back within your career.

Employees often adopt a workplace personality because they are not comfortable showing their authentic selves in the office. This behavior may stem from the fear of discrimination, explains Elizabeth Segran with FastCompany. Women may not reveal that they are rushing from work to pick up children from day care because they fear employers view them as less committed. Employees may refrain from laughing due to fear of being perceived as less serious about the job or not fitting in with the implied employee dynamics.

The study revealed that 29 percent of employees interviewed admit to changing their appearance on the job. Women tend to wear clothes that appear to be more masculine, and employees overcompensate for disabilities or sexual orientation by dressing more conservatively. The tendency to change appearances stems from a fear of not being taken seriously on the job. Some individuals even hide connections to groups that tie to them to political parties, religious affiliations or ethnic groups. Employees even find themselves overcompensating to avoid age discrimination. Adopting a workplace personality that is deceiving or fake appears to be easier to mesh with the employee dynamics and company culture versus staying true to yourselves for many employees.

Denying who you really are with an untrue workplace personality can have a detrimental effect on your success. Effort put into establishing and maintaining this persona takes time and energy and can impact employee productivity and overall happiness on the job.

You may also find that it is difficult to form close bonds with colleagues when you are not staying true to yourself and adopting a workplace personality that is not authentic. People who mask their personalities are less likely to socialize outside of work with colleagues in fear of revealing their affiliations with groups they fear are not accepted by others. Teamwork can suffer, too, as colleagues do not feel as if they know who you are, which can ultimately impact their faith in your abilities and your overall trustworthiness.

It may be tempting to conduct yourself in a manner that you think is socially and professionally acceptable in the workplace, but ultimately, you could be damaging your productivity and bonds with colleagues if you adopt a workplace personality that is not related to who you really are. Remain professional, but let your personality shine to share your talents on a daily basis.

Photo Courtesy of posterize at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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