Following on from my blog the other week about how other people see you. (With the illustrations of my face) I have had some interesting feedback which although put in different ways all came pretty much to the same conclusion, which is:
“I would love to be myself all the time but I don’t feel confident enough, so on many occasions I become what other people want me to be”!
This seemed to be especially true when it came to work and business. Could it be that the pressure that people are put under at work means that they can’t be honest about themselves or their company’s situation.
An example of this is of someone who is managing a project, which is not going particularly well.
The “face” that this person wears at work when asked by their manager about the progress of the project is one of “everything’s going well, maybe a couple of issues to deal with but nothing major” when in reality it was falling apart through many factors beyond their control.
They needed help; guidance and a lot more support than had been forthcoming from their company or their manager.
What they really wanted to say was just that, but felt that it would be an admission of failure and would have severe consequences on their position within the company.
The reality of course is that when it is found that the project is in difficulties this person would probably be in trouble for not telling the truth at an earlier stage when measures could be put in place to remedy the situation.
Conversely, let’s look at the “face” that this person’s manager is wearing when at work. Is it one that says?
“I don’t want to hear about your problems, I just want results so get on with it”! They may also be under pressure from above, so they just want to hear that everything is ok! When really they know things are not quite right, but for whatever reason they don’t ask or offer support. They are just hoping everything will turn out all right!
The only certain outcome is disaster for them both in terms of stress. Which will affect their working life and their home and family life.
The above scenario is an amalgam of the comments that came through, although I’m sure that you know some people who have acted in this way.
Can you see the flaw in this situation?
Under normal circumstances at home both of these individuals are probably caring and supportive. They want their partner and their children (if they have them) to come to them with problems they may be having difficulty with and visa versa so that a solution can be found and the problem solved.
This is their true identity, so why is it so different at work? What barriers are in place that stop honest communication and support happening? Is it cultural, personal, perceived or real intimidation? Whatever it is, not being true to yourself will eventually only make matters worse.
When someone feels that they are unable to be themselves at work (or at home) for whatever reason, they are either in the wrong job, (with the wrong partner) or they need to understand and find out how they can be true to themselves so they can show their real “face” to everyone.
It’s much better than keeping lots of jars with faces in and trying to remember which one you feel you need to be wearing!
By David Kentish – follow me on Twitter @david_kentish