Authenticity at Work: Shifting Behaviors without Compromising Values

For this article by Jo Ilfeld, Executive Leadership Coach on workplace authenticity the image shows a sign post with two directional posts, one labeled Fake, the other Authentic.

Have you ever received feedback in a performance review suggesting you make changes to your behavior that made you question your authenticity? How can you adapt your behaviors without feeling inauthentic?

During a conversation with a client, we explored the transformative changes she made based on a 360 performance evaluation. While the changes she had made were positive, the client was left questioning her authenticity. In answer to her question, I made an important distinction worth sharing.

Authenticity lies in our core beliefs, values, and character—it’s the essence of who we are. Behaviors, however, can be flexible and context-dependent.

Being true to yourself doesn’t mean being rigid in your actions. You can adapt your approach, being assertive in some situations and going along to maintain harmony in others, without compromising your authenticity. Your core values and beliefs remain intact, while your impact and interactions with others may shift.

So, the next time you receive feedback suggesting behavioral changes, remember that it’s not about changing who you are fundamentally. It’s about shifting your impact and how you present yourself to others. By embracing these shifts, you can enhance your effectiveness and build stronger relationships while staying true to your authentic core.

Read More: Gathering 360 Feedback? Two Things You Should Know

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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