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Know Your Comfort Level with Authenticity

One of the biggest elements of engagement is letting people be authentic at work. Without getting into a large explanation of what that means, you want everyone to feel free to be the same person outside of work and at work (within reason).

This can be difficult because everyone has a different level of comfort with authenticity. While you want people to be themselves, everyone has to respect the comfort levels of others and you.

For example, I worked at a place where it wasn’t unusual to hear some swear words. It wasn’t horrible, but it was also evident. There were times where I had to provide feedback to people to be careful with language around certain people who weren’t comfortable.

The key mistake I see managers make is to go too far when this happens. They issue a rule that says no swearing is allowed. Individuals then start to sense hypocrisy - be authentic, but only until it bothers someone.

Part of successful interactions is understanding the comfort level of others and everyone adjusting as appropriate

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