Beyond Bravo

Phonies Go Further In the Workplace, New Study Says

If you are too authentic and have no filter, you may be turning people off. 

If you know and express your genuine self at work you may find yourself stuck in no man’s land.

A new study by the World Economic Forum found that not changing your opinions or behavior to please or impress others is actually harmful to your career, and that people who speak their truth to the point of being combative receive significantly lower performance evaluations and are less likely to get promoted into leadership roles.

But that also depended on how authentic you are being—in other words, don’t pick a fight with your boss over everything. Sometimes just nod and say “yes,” even if you don’t fully agree.

"Virtues have a Goldilocks flavor: they can be too hot or too cold," says the study. "The goal is to develop just the right amount of each one. That’s true for authenticity. Have too little, and you’ll be seen as a faker, a liar, or a jerk. It’s bad for your career—not to mention your chances of achieving morality or even decency."

In the study social scientists found that the costs of being too authentic and speaking your true mind with no filter lead to three things: Being too rigid with your personality if you fail to ever see another person’s side, oversharing with your coworkers to the point where you have no filter, and feeling inferior. People are less creative when they have authentic leaders who force them to remain silent on their own ideas. 

It was all based on those surveyed answering one question. 

"My behavior is usually an expression of my true inner feelings, attitudes, and beliefs. I would not change my opinions (or the way I do things) in order to please someone else or win their favor.I'm always the person I appear to be."

If they answered "true," they were considered authentic. Nothing wrong with that, but the right balace of true and agreeable works better in the workplace. 

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