AUTHENTICITY: The Power is You
There is only one you!
The day your company hired you, someone else did not get the job because you were the best candidate. They hired you because you had the best combination of skills, personality, and potential and a unique blend of values and abilities. Over any other person they interviewed, the company felt that you could best execute the job, fulfill their need for talent, and satisfy their specific need for a discrete skill set. You got the job because you had a competitive advantage over all of the other candidates. That important competitive advantage? You. No one else can be you the way you can; that is your source of power within the organization.
One of the keys to your long-term success in any organization is to own the person who you really are. If you bring that original, best you to work every day, the one that interviewed for and got the job, then you can maintain your competitive advantage in the organization now and, more importantly, over time.
Bringing the real you to work allows you to be free! Free to learn new concepts, free to be creative and responsive, free to take risks—all of which helps to enhance the professional that you are and makes you valuable to the organization. In today’s competitive environment, the person who learns new concepts quickly, who can adapt commercially, or, in other words, can apply those lessons in a way that can make money for the firm, and who is also client-oriented, is the person who moves most quickly in a company and is most handsomely rewarded.
If you are preoccupied with trying to play a role or trying to behave, speak, or act the way you think others want you to, your mind won’t be free to perform at your highest level, be flexible, and be able to adapt to changes. Putting on an act eventually becomes exhausting and uses up valuable mental capacity that could instead be directed toward making important contributions at work.
The reason that I am such a strong advocate for being who you really are at work is that doing so gives you confidence. When you are comfortable with who you are, you exude confidence, and that’s attractive to clients and to colleagues. Others want to listen to confident people; they want to hear your ideas, they trust your judgment, and they will buy what you are selling, whether it is a product, a financing pitch, or a decision.
When you are not being who you really are, at some point you will begin to appear uncomfortable to others. Especially in client-facing businesses, such as investment banking or sales, trust in relationships is an important element of success. When you act and speak with confidence, it contributes to your performance. If you appear to be tentative or apprehensive (which usually happens when you are lacking confidence), then you open the door for your clients to doubt what you are saying, you potentially lose the opportunity to win business, and you open the door for a competitor to get the upper hand in a relationship.