13 Jun Bring your whole self to work
While attending the Inc. GrowCo Conference in New Orleans earlier this year, I was touched by Sheryl Sandberg’s openness and willingness to share her insights from her personal and professional journey with us, the audience, and with the world in her book Option B. As a working mom and entrepreneurial woman, I have been a fan of Sandberg’s since her book Lean In hit the shelves. I viewed this book and the movement that followed as going well beyond being applicable to just women. In my opinion Lean In speaks across genders and generations to encourage people to not be deterred by fear, but to realize passions, be bold and take appropriate risks.
So what does this have to do with bringing your whole self to work?
During her GrowCo conversation with Inc. Magazine Editor in Chief Eric Schurenberg, Sandberg encouraged audience members to do just that: “bring your whole self to work.” Again, this is the notion that we, as people, are actually better in all areas of our lives if we aren’t constantly trying to compartmentalize one part of ourselves or shift back and forth between “home-mode”, “work-mode”, “social-mode”, or “friend-mode.”
When I step into my office, do I suddenly stop being a mom? And when I come home, do I suddenly stop being a marketer, coach and businesswoman? Or in the case of Sheryl Sandberg, does she stop being a widow with two children at home when she steps into her office at Facebook? Of course not. So why are we trying so hard to pretend or hide these other parts of our lives?
Perhaps we worry that we won’t be taken seriously, or we will be thought of as unstable or unreliable if we admit our weaknesses. Perhaps we fear that others will judge our motivations or commitment if we allow them to see our personal struggles or know the real reason we need to leave work early on any given day. Whatever the reasons behind our “separation of selves”, it’s my belief that we bring much more to the table if we are empowered and confident in the ability to bring our whole selves to and into our work.
As an example, if we can embrace the fact that we can be, and are, both parents and executives, we are able to create work environments with less judgement and fear – and therefore greater trust. We allow individuals the safety to truly collaborate, to be vulnerable, by giving a more rounded and thoughtful contribution to our organizations. When we support our team members in their personal lives as well as their professional lives and give grace to one another, we are able to foster greater employee loyalty and commitment, enhancing the well-being of the team and the overall health of the organization.
So how can you as leaders or team members begin to make a shift in this direction? It all starts with you. Be authentic and lead by example. Start by bringing your whole self to work.
Interested in learning more about how we work with teams and leaders to build trust and enhance company culture and organizational health? Contact Megan or Tim today.