2015 Wellbeing August Authenticity
In workplaces of the past as popularized by Dilbertville and “Mad Men,” allowing yourself to be vulnerable or show emotion at work was considered unacceptable. With “fight or flight” emotions in high gear, many workers are still accustomed to defending themselves by keeping up a pretense of perfection and expected behaviors, which leads to frustration, resentment and unhealthy behaviors.
Wellbeing, in contrast, is cultivated by personal expressiveness — the freedom to be who you are, at work as well as away from work.
Gallup poll data from more than a decade of surveying people has revealed that the most important factor in wellbeing on the job is to have a best friend at work. Relationships anchor people’s commitment to the larger organization. Having close friends and positive interactions can’t happen without trust, which requires authenticity. “Even in Eastern cultures with their legacy of collectiveness versus individualism, the authenticity of self and being able to express that at work is become more important to wellbeing,” says Arantes.
Cultivating authenticity in the workplace
“Workers need spaces where they can feel a part of the organization’s culture, while feeling encouraged to express their own ideas and values,” notes Arantes. “Leaders set standards and a tone of authenticity, while customizable work environments and social settings can reinforce the message.”
- Create spaces that help people feel comfortable to express themselves and share their ideas.
- Incorporate informal, non-constricting environments with a home-like feel.
- Design areas that help people connect their personal values to the brand values.
Workplace Authenticity: Hiding Who You Are At Work Linked With Lower Job Satisfaction
From the Huffington Post
Living with authenticity has been linked in numerous studies to greater psychological health and well-being. And now, a new study shows that authenticity at work matters, too.
New research from Rice University, the University of Houston and George Mason University shows that hiding who you truly are at work is linked with lower levels of job satisfaction. The findings are published in the journal Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.
“The workplace is becoming a much more diverse place, but there are still some individuals who have difficulty embracing what makes them different, especially while on the job,” study researcher Michelle Hebl, a psychology professor at Rice University, said in a statement.
The study included 211 people who took online surveys about job satisfaction, discrimination, identity, and whether they were intending to leave their job for another.
The researchers found that revealing true identity at work is an idea regularly considered by the study participants. They also found that people who hide who they really are at work might do so because of discrimination by others, and that showing a true authentic self at work is linked with better relationships with others.
“I think this study really demonstrates that everyone can have a role in making the workplace more inclusive,” Hebl said in the statement. “Individuals tell co-workers, who can act as allies and react positively, and organizations can institute protective and inclusive organizational policies. All of these measures will continue to change the landscape and diversity of our workforce.”
Previously, a Canadian study of workplace managers published in the Journal of Managerial Psychology also showed that authenticity at work is linked with well-being.
“The study highlighted a growing need to promote authenticity within organizations since it has been associated with public managers’ well-being,” researchers wrote in that study.
Bringing Authenticity to Work
By Gloria Lombardi
“In years to come authenticity will be understood as a key variable that separates successful from failing businesses, happy from disengaged workforces, and adaptive from inflexible organizations” – Robin Ryde and Lisa Sofianos
In Creating Authentic Organizations, Robin Ryde and Lisa Sofianos make a strong case for creating authenticity at work.
While businesses rarely have invested in authenticity as a major competitive advantage, a value-creating factor and driver of business performance, the authors are in no doubt that it is a crucial asset worth building.
What I particularly appreciated about this book is its ability to condense psychology with sociology and business. The result is a solid argument for taking individual responsibility in exercising the self at work. It develops a captivating journey toward personal discovery and self-expression within a corporate context.
“My authenticity sits with me, yours with you, and it is not our belief that it is anyone’s responsibility to find it or ‘fix it’ for someone.”
The manual also offers a variety of tips and guidelines that if followed, might help to “create authentic organizations, bringing meaning and engagement back to work.”
The prize of being authentic
“Much of our mental energy, our ideas, our passions, our physical effort and our time is deployed at work. The work we do goes some way to describing who we are, what we stand for and it reveals, in one dimension at least, a tangible and valued contribution that we make to the world. Authenticity and work matter.”
What does it mean to be authentic at work, and why it is important?
“Think of authenticity as the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit or character, despite external pressure,” write the authors. In this scenario, people are themselves at work as they are in their private life. They recognize who they are, without pretending to be something different, without wearing a mask to make themselves more palatable to others, and without suppressing their own important values. They bring the whole self to work ‘every day’.
The prize that this offers at individual level is significant. It includes greater levels of engagement, well-being, productivity, and commitment. People have high levels of motivation by applying their own thoughts and experience to the task in hand. They take pride in the work they do and leverage their particular strengths to the job. They also learn much more due to a deeper personal application.
The authors like to remind us that, if this is done right, then organizations benefit enormously too. For example, in terms of innovation. As workers seek solutions to their own challenges and feel able to freely explore a variety of possibilities, their resourcefulness and creativity increase. “Not only does this deliver a benefit to the task but it also raises capability across, and for, the organization.”
Another advantage is the greater ownership in the workplace. As employees feel responsible for the results they create, they feel that they are more accountable for the product of their efforts. They have more ‘skin in the game’ and therefore more commitment to the success of the organization.
The same applies to productivity and agility. Motivated and engaged employees constantly look for options to improve their work. As such, they are likely to be able to detect changes in the environment, and adapt more flexibly to changing circumstances. “They are also better equipped to see and act upon opportunities and will rightly feel empowered to act.”
Throughout the book, Ryde and Sofianos see people as self-governing individuals who are ultimately responsible for claiming and exercising their own authenticity.
I found this view particularly insightful. “Authenticity is rightly a concern for all, but it is for the individual to define it for themselves, to strive to attain it (should they choose to), and importantly to resist giving way to the temptation that it is the job of management to furnish it for them.”
They point out that something needs to happen for people to be more authentic at work. They explore a model, which comprises three overlapping areas, or ‘freedoms’:
- “Freedom to Operate”: it involves letting employees reach their own judgements on the best strategies for fulfilling the task they face, and letting them execute on this basis. “Employees are both invited and trusted to be creative in the way they shape and deliver their work.”
- “Freedom to Speak”: it is about allowing and encouraging employees to articulate their ideas, feelings, hopes and concerns without censorship. As a consequence, workers speak freely, share their views more honestly, and talk about the meaning and value of the work they do. They point out to opportunities and threats, and also discuss the ‘elephant in the room’, which “may be the most valuable contribution that can be made.”
- “Freedom to Actualize”: offering employees the freedom to assume and realize one’ own emergent personality and values at work.
However, claiming these freedoms is not enough. Workers have associated obligations. For example, within the Freedom to Operate, there are understandable limits to what is possible since organizations have a different ‘freedom to operate’ based on their industry. As such, employees are expected to appraise themselves of the corporate initiatives under way. Similarly, the more workers engage in discussions about the ‘elephant in the room’ (Freedom to Speak) the more they need to be sensitive and aware of the consequences for others in doing so.
Employees and the organization are not the same
According to Ryde and Sofianos, authenticity in the workplace is created through the actions of individuals who come to influence and inspire others. Therefore, they believe that most of what needs to be done is tackled at the employee level through the adoption of their model.
However, the authors don’t treat the workforce as synonymous with the organization. “Organizations can possess a power and identity that is different from the individuals that make it up. Each can possess a different symbolic value. And legally of course, employees are distinct from the entity itself.”
I found the additional ‘nudges’ that they suggest adopting at the broader organizational level, particularly helpful to ‘get it over the line’ on authenticity.
- “Publicly declare what the organization stand for and will not stand for.” It requires a continuous analysis about what the organization care about. This enables potential employees to know if they wish to join and customers to know what to expect, while other stakeholders can judge organizational performance.
- “Proactively engage in real, two-way, adult-to-adult dialogue with all that are interested.” Organizations that are respectful of their communities will be serious about establishing multiple means of communication.
- “Turn the organization into a ‘glass house’.” In this context organizations make it a priority to be transparent about their performance, results, conduct and partnerships. They make this web of relationships visible.
- “Humanize the points of interaction between organization and clients, customers, enquirers, etc.” The premise is that people want to feel connected to, understood by and involved in a trusting relationship.
- “Follow the organization’s influence as far as it goes and assess the impact against its standards.” Any business affects a number of communities. Organization that choose to be authentic, care about their conduct and impact on each of these domains. They feel a sense of responsibility and ensure that they principles are put into practice.
- “Admit to, and share learning from, mistakes.” Every company makes mistakes. The authenticity test is how those mistakes are handled when they arise – rather than playing them down, authentic organizations build on them.
- “Don’t change the deal and expect no one to notice.” No one expect organizations to remain static. Yet, once change occurs, companies have an obligation to explain this and to respect the reaction that might arise.
“Authenticity between colleagues and across all level of the system is of first order importance. Employees and culture come first in constructing authenticity and with it comes the benefits discussed, including trust, responsibility, accountability and engagement. With authentic people, we create authentic organizations.”
People may agree or disagree with the ideas presented by Ryde and Sofianos. However, managers of any type of organization who choose ‘the freedom’ to be authentic at work, may find their suggestions particularly insightful to assist in modelling authenticity inside their workplace.
I applaud Ryde and Sofianos for tackling such a delicate issue as authenticity at work so firmly. I use the term ‘delicate’ because the notion of authenticity still faces huge challenges and unsolved discussions in many different settings.
Yet, Creating Authentic Organizations shows that the topic is worth taking seriously. Most people spend the majority of their waking hours working. The alienation from the self, holding the two worlds of work and home apart, is coming at a cost for the individual, but also for the organization – stress, disengagement, unproductive results, etc.
Authenticity, in reverse, has a multiplier positive effect. It delivers greater benefits to employees and organizations alike, and in doing so, to customers and stakeholders.
“Where there is greater authenticity organizations will adapt more quickly and much more effectively to the volatile circumstances of the operating environment. This is a ‘win-win’ that is worth fighting for.”
Unlabel: 5 Prescriptions for Authenticity
From the Huffington Post
My name is Marc Ecko and I’ve been an artist and a builder of brands my whole life. I’m a white Jewish kid from New Jersey who was able to create a company based on the ethos of hip hop. From the packaging on the outside, I suspect i did not quite “look the part.”
I dropped out of college but I’ve run companies that’s generated billions of dollars of revenue over the last 20 years. How did I do it? I can tell you there was no one singular step. But by far, the singular element that motivated me along the way was to ” just be authentic self”… I know what you are saying, “authenticity, really”?
Authenticity, in my judgment, is the key to all creative success. It is as a notion and word as missed/misunderstood as the word “love” is with your first girlfriend. It has inadvertently become code for “relevance.” But is what is relevant, REAL… or authentic? I mean… really?
Authenticity. Consciously or not, it is an expectation that we build ourselves and our business to always be. Unfortunately this “measure of authenticity” can will/be used as a weapon against you. How? In our culture, it is too often “governed” externally, by outside gatekeepers in our lives or industries. Those gatekeepers may indeed formally be that “certifying body,” or a boss, an “influential person” or just those cool kids that will roll their eyes at you for even having dare tried.
They will get in your way, but those GATE-keepers are not the GOAL-keepers. Dig?
Since the “realm of the authentic” is so murky and manufactured these days, I wanted to give my thought process for reclaiming it in our lives.
It’s a simple prescription. BE A CREATOR Raise your hand if you’re an artist.
Try saying that to a room full of kindergarten kids. Nearly every kid raises their hand. Then say it to grown-ups at business conference or in an executive meeting: almost no one. What happens to us when we get older? Why did we let them beat the creative spirit out of us? What happens in adulthood that leeches our desire to create, to build, to get messy and explore?
As a teenager, I used to paint in my parents’ garage. And now, even after so much has changed, I still follow that ancient ritual of retreating to my office, blocking out the noise, and unrolling my canvas bag of markers and color pencils and bristle paper. It is in that quiet where I harvest and mine inspiration. Its those quiet, often mundane moments in batting practice — swing and miss, swing and miss, rinse and repeat — that are the moments when you will create your personal brand. Don’t expect a fanfare or flashing lights at those moments of eureka.
This is what I thirst for. This defines my purpose. These are the quiet moments when I create and work on the brand of me. What are your moments?
Sell without selling out
Sellout. They said it behind my back, they said to my face. I’ve had an army of naysayers. We like to imagine that there’s a holy war between art and commerce. “One is creative and pure, the other is crass and dirty.” But the two aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve learned how to be a starving artist without literally having to starve. Starve for the right things. Starve to create something new. But never starve your brand.
Creation need not only be the work of the divine. And branding need not only be the dirty work of the ad man on Madison Avenue. In this fragmented media culture hyper-enabled by efficiencies of social media and self-publishing, you are a brand. You must strive to be both commercially responsible in your business and creatively fulfilled by the exhibition of your ideas. If you find that balance, you will see that what makes you a good artist is what will make you a good entrepreneur. If you’re authentic in the one, you’ll be authentic in the other. The labels “they” will project on you will not matter. And if you’re willing but unable to commercialize your art? That’s okay, too. You’re still an artist.
Every artist should live by these words: Never feel bad about successfully selling your creations. Never feel bad about creating art you can’t sell.
Create wealth that matters
In the spirit of being authentic, I need to share something. I’ve never been more financially stable and “worth more” than I am now. Okay, I said it. Why? You know when you go to the gym, you don’t want a personal trainer who’s fat, right?
Since 2008, a funny thing happened. I stopped making appearances on the Today show, but I started making investments in companies and quietly launched my latest platform, Artists & Instigators. We put the brakes on retail expansion, but I put the pedal to the metal on Complex, and it repaid us with explosive growth.
All I care about now is being wealthy in the currency that matters most. Wealthy with an authentic, actualized awareness of my personal brand and how it fits into the world. I hate talking about what’s in my bank account as some measure of compliance to success. The reason I am wealthy today is because I’m free to better serve the Ecko beast, to steward and support new start-ups, to grow Complex media, and actually wax philosophical about life.
Be an Un-label
We as a society put things in a certain taxonomy. These labeling frameworks help us, as consumers, navigate the world. Without labels, we’d be unable to tell a can of peaches from a can of beans.
But this has unintended consequences. If we’re not careful we find ourselves acting out the label that society has slapped on our tin can, wearing pleated khakis, making our résumé look just like everyone else’s, and joining the herd of sheep. Even when we try to shake free of the herd, sometimes we end up as a black sheep in an identical herd of black sheep. (Exhibit A: The “rebellious” goth high school kids who all wear the same eyeliner.)
Fight this label. Peel off this label. UN-Label.
Refuse to be labeled by the gatekeepers. Or if you’re going to be a label, be an UN-Label.
This takes work. In the same way that you exercise your body, you need to challenge yourself to shake free of the herd, find your own unique voice, and create your personal authentic brand. Make it hard for them to classify you. Make it hard for them to label you.
Don’t let yourself be placed in a silo. When you refuse to be labeled, suddenly you play by your own rules, not theirs. You measure yourself by your own standards, not the gatekeepers’ standards. You define the terms of your brand, your creations, and your success.
Focus on an authentic pursuit, not destination
We want to organize our life in rational, logical, quantitative ways. But humans are not rational. We are emotional creatures. And just like there is no straight line in nature it’s impossible to imagine your life in such an organized fashion. We are, after all, just one big work in progress.
Authenticity is a work in progress. Too many business and self-help books give tidy little formulas and Venn diagrams for success like A + B = C. It’s not that simple. Even if some Doogie Howser-type brainiac could actually crunch the numbers and compute a number — authenticity score of 72.0829, say — that score of “72.0829” is constantly changing.
The answer is a constantly iterative thing. It’s not a measure that’s neatly defined by a number. It’s a moving target. The forces of life are always changing. And the forces of life can hurt like hell; they’re designed to. You thought it would be easy? They can make progress look like failure. These forces can at times seem subtractive–maybe they smack your ego, maybe they look sloppy — that’s okay. That’s part of the ride of creating that will eventually reveal itself as the texture, the essence, the very definition of what it is you seek to create.
My prescription isn’t something you can just slavishly follow, and the formula will be different for everyone. It’s not important that you use my formula to build an authentic brand, but it’s critical that you develop your own.
It’s critical that you dig deep down, from the inside out, and look outward and upward for your Vision for the Future. Not a vision of the gatekeepers’ future. But a future that’s authentic.
I am a brand.
I’ve shown you my brand. I’ve peeled back the label and showed you its guts.
You are a brand.
And your brand is…?
Marc Eckō is an American fashion designer, entrepreneur, investor and artist. He is the founder of Marc Eckō Enterprises, a global fashion and lifestyle company. He is also the founder and chairman of Complex Media, a network of 110+ websites that generate more than 700 million page views and 70 million unique visitors per month. Eckō serves as an emeritus board member to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Big Picture Learning and Tikva Children’s Home. Ecko’s first book “Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out” is out October 1, 2013.
August 2nd Friendship Day The first Sunday of August and all the young people around the globe, who are even remotely aware of the significance of the day, indulge in a joyous celebration of Friendship Day. With Friendship Day coming up once more, you too must be waiting enthusiastically to celebrate the holiday?
Friendship Day History
For example, National Friendship Day is held on the first Sunday in August; Women’s Friendship Day is on the third Sunday in August; the third week of May is the Old Friends, New Friends Week and the whole of February is designated as the International Friendship Month.These days, Friendship Day is celebrated with a lot of fanfare and great expenses. Just as in US and several other countries, the festival has been greatly commercialized.Days before the festival, card and gift companies launch an extensive campaign to lure people into buying cards and gift items for their friends. Companies indulge in aggressive marketing to target youngsters, the main celebrators of festivals as these, and entice them into purchasing expensive articles for their pals. Restaurateurs too offer special discounts to make the most of the time. This marketing strategy has been severely criticized by many people and is a subject of debate every year. Many feel that such rampant commercialization has marred the very concept of Friendship Day and has turned it into a mere formality. Many on the other hand think that greater hype and hoopla around the occasion has helped to generate awareness about Friendship Day festival which was till recently a low-key affair (compared to occasions as “Mother’s Day” and “Father’s Day”) and thus promote friendship and brotherhood.
The popular customs of Friendship Day includes handing over roses, especially the pink and yellow ones. The day is observed with great exhilaration and merriment, with friends throwing parties, gorging on lip-smacking dishes and drinking hard (be it at home or at restaurants that offer special discounts for this occasion).
A highly popular thing associated with the day is the well-known Friendship Band – the modern day token of friendship that friends gift to one another to form an everlasting bond. Friendship bands are favorite items for youngsters and are available in stores all over the country. Girls go in for friendship bracelets instead of the conventional friendship wristbands. Friendship Poems and Friendship Day Gifts are exchanged between best friends to renew the bond of friendship and express gratitude and love for each other. These are new ways of celebration of this day that the GenX has invented.
Since its inception in 1935, Friendship Day and Friendship Day celebrations have come a long way. But however much the ways of celebration have changed, the basic idea behind the occasion remains the same. Friendship Day remains the time when you acknowledge your friends’ contribution in your life, express love for them, cherish their presence in your life and pay them a tribute.
Sir Isaac Newton
Prince William of England
Osama bin Laden
- Adopt a dog from your local shelter or pure breed rescue organization.
- Volunteer at your local shelter and offer to walk a dog or play with a dog, clean cages or anything else they need help with.
- Have a safety check of your home to make sure it’s safe for your dog and others.
- Donate blankets, food and toys to animal welfare organizations.
- Have a National Dog Day party and invite all your friends and their dogs!
- Assist an ill or elderly neighbor by walking their dog.
- Have a portrait painted of your dog to suspend the fleeting magic of dogdom.
- Buy your dog a fun new dog toy….or two…or five.
- Give your dog some fun exercise by taking him or her to a doggy play resort.
- Brush your dog to eliminate excess fur.
- Give your dog a massage or holistic spa treatment.
- Teach your dog a new trick.
- Buy your dog a fashionable collar and leash.
- Take your dog to the beach.
- Just give your dog a hug.