Being ourselves: is it better for business?

Being ourselves: is it better for business?

Being ourselves: is it better for business?

Where did we get the idea that not being ourselves was somehow better for business?

I have worked in various industries and noticed that people often present a persona in business that is not who they naturally are. They may be quite serious, very restricted in how they express, not show the full qualities they have as a person, and instead limit themselves to being ‘business-like’. It is not uncommon to feel quite surprised at end of year work parties where co-workers and managers ‘let their hair down’ and show more of who they are.

Recently I have been asking “Why?”. For example, ‘Why do we need to be the way we are in business, where we act in such a formal manner?’ And ‘Have you ever dealt with customer service reps that read off a script like robots? (no criticism intended; I get it).’ And why do we need to treat people like a ‘customer’ or ‘client’, not first as another person to connect with, who then receives customer service?

Who made these rules and why are we following them?

I phoned my internet provider to organise better NBN speeds and the lady I dealt with was very friendly, super cheeky and absolutely gorgeous to deal with. The lady I dealt with was a perfect example of breaking free of this ideal of being another persona in business.

We exchanged some lovely banter about my birthday (via the DOB security check), and what I loved was how naturally joyous she was, totally exuberant and able to express herself. I could feel she was a beautiful and spunky person. And she very concisely explained and attended to my NBN issue.

In my phone call I felt blessed by this beautiful exchange of getting to feel the real person, and how playful she was. It made my day and I shared some appreciative words of her at the end, as did she. We really enjoyed each other’s company. A lot of words weren’t needed because as we were both sharing who we were in our essence, there was a natural love of each other. And feeling love for another really can be that easy; we don’t need a long history together – just share you, the real you, and people love that.

Business can easily be about giving the whole you in whatever flavour that comes in, as well as attending to the technical aspects of whatever product or service is needed.

This to me was a true business experience because by being utterly transparent there was a real connection with another human being, and of course excellent service. Experiences like this show me what really works, that there is more to business than just delivering a product or service, that the way we are with people can be a healing and supportive experience, and that the quality of our relationships (however brief) can be a truly nurturing part of business.

Asking questions and making changes that we feel are true and that break the mindset of how business ‘should be’, can allow a natural and truly supportive and enriching way to be at work. And one that doesn’t compartmentalise life or mould people to be different to who they are just because they are at work.

So, I ask:

Where did we get the idea that not being ourselves was somehow better for business?

Or that not being our full selves is somehow better at all?
And, why are we following it?

Filed under

Work stressWork life balanceTeamwork

  • By Melinda Knights

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd