Authenticity | Maintaining Authentic Relationships
As a Talent Manager at a global company, relationships are my business. Day in and day out, I spend hours speaking to people and getting to know about their lives, goals and I work to help them find what they are looking for. Some of these relationship go on for months, and some years, as we work to move people and their families from different parts of the world. Some encounters are short and end as we decide to move in different directions. What I pride myself most in is building and maintaining authentic relationships through these daily interactions.
It got me thinking about what it means to truly be authentic in business, saying the hard things to people that maybe no one else has said, and what it takes to show up fully authentic in a business setting.
One of the hardest things I have to do is share news with candidates that they are not getting the job. Before I pick up the phone and call to share my message, I have a practice; I get out a piece of paper and jot down the answers to these questions:
How would I want this message delivered to me if I was hearing this news?
What is a specific piece of feedback I can give them to have closure and to work on so they can be successful in the future?
Being mindful that my actions can affect others’ feelings, I work to manage my range of feelings so I can remain as constructive as I can without delivering my message in an unkind or destructive manner. This allows me to genuinely show others I care. There are many people I have had to decline for positions, but because of our open authentic relationship, we have been able to stay in touch and I have supported them many months or years later.
There is an art in being in authentic conversations with your team and colleagues at work. I remember when I first started at lululemon, I was told I had the right to share feedback with my team. I first experienced it by people coming to me and sharing their feedback on how they experienced me in a meeting - positive or negative. This allowed me to be more comfortable in sharing my feedback with others. The feedback that has been shared has allowed me to grow, develop and learn quicker than at any other organization I have worked for. I see authenticity as emotional intelligence: being self aware of yourself, others and how your actions influence others. If you work to act in good intentions, your authenticity shines and relationships flourish.
The other day, I shared feedback with a new hire. They had been working on my team for about 2 weeks and I had noticed something about the way they interacted. I also noticed a few other cues in meetings where I could tell others were affected as well. It is so easy to think, “well their manager or someone else will tell them.” I took the opportunity to ask this person to go for a walk and shared the feedback in a kind and authentic manner. As it turns out, they just needed some guidance and they weren’t looking at the situation from the perspective I shared. In the end, they were appreciative and thankful and emailed me a week later reiterating how much they feel their connections with others are improving.
Now, to the good part of striving to be authentic in the workplace. It is not just for them - the person receiving, the benefits are for you too. I have realized that in being more authentic, I am kinder and things in my life have radically changed. I truly believe that by being authentic, my happiness has increased. We attract the people and things we want in life when we’re open-minded and receptive.
What are some conversations you have been holding back at having at work and how can you approach them authentically?