Being Authentic in a COVID-19 World
It’s that time for new intentions and resolutions. For me, my intention for 2021 is not to lose weight or to exercise more; it’s to be more “authentic” at work and home.
What does it mean to be your authentic self?
Authenticity, in the simplest of terms, is “the quality of being genuine or real.” And it has added benefits. According to an article in Scientific American, feelings of authenticity have “numerous psychological and social benefits, including higher self-esteem, greater well-being, better romantic relationships, and enhanced work performance.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have had to become more of our authentic selves, whether we wanted to or not. At work, that may have meant children screaming in the background during Zoom calls, dogs barking every time the doorbell rings, or the ever-persistent sound of leaf blowers while trying to be productive.
(Pro tip: virtual backgrounds can do wonders in masking some of those details in your personal life you don’t want to be revealed on camera.)
Haphazardly, we’ve learned that it’s OK to blur the lines of professional and personal life.
How about being authentic in your communication?
In business, authentic communication is “vital in creating effective, efficient business relationships.” This is even more so the case in a crisis.
Over the last year, the majority of my work has revolved around crisis communication. And being authentic has meant overcommunication to my clients’ audiences in several instances. We’ve seen that honesty is still the best policy during a crisis, even if you are uncertain what the future holds. It’s also more important than ever to express empathy and concern to those audiences.
How can you be your authentic self at work?
Lastly, if your goal is to be more authentic in the workplace, David Brown from Temple University recently shared a few of his thoughts with PR News. He realized that he should embrace his true self and life experiences, which, in turn, made him a better communicator. “As I matured, I increasingly felt that this multiplicity was short-changing who I was … and who I wanted to be,” he said. Our life experiences help mold us as individuals, and we shouldn’t feel the need to shy away from who we are.
If we learned anything from 2020, is that’s we all should be speaking our truth, even if we feel it’s not what others want to hear. But many times, they will listen.