Should you be yourself at work? Only if you’re in a senior position


While a staggering 90.2 per cent of Brits think that people should be able to express themselves at work, many are wary about how this could impact their career.

In fact, 64.8 per cent of workers think that it’s more acceptable for senior members of staff to be their authentic self at work.

The study, which explored the views of UK workers, found that the most common instance of ‘being yourself’ was openly discussing your shortcomings, followed by being open about what is happening in your private life. A further 21.4 per cent said that they believed it was behaving as you would with your friends.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments on the findings: “No one should ever feel the need to censor themselves, but it is important that people adopt a professional manner while at work. In most cases, this stems from the top, so it’s important that you are clear about your company values during the recruitment process, to ensure that you are employing like-minded people. This will inevitably make it easier for your employees to be themselves in the workplace.”

What’s more, UK professionals admit to adapting their personality in the workplace, most commonly when they are with customers, when managing junior members of staff and when they’re dealing with senior managers. Furthermore, one in 10 said they adapt their personality when they are in a meeting.

When asked what negative occurrences they believe could come as a result of showing their authentic self at work, 28 per cent said it may make others feel uncomfortable. In addition, they felt it could cost them their credibility and damage their chance of a promotion. However, when asked about the positives, 33.9 per cent said it could prompt others to be themselves, while a further 33.5 per cent said it could improve relationships within the workplace.

Biggins continues: “At the end of the day, we come to work, to work. But, because we spend so much time in the workplace, we need to ensure that we enjoy what we do, where we work and who we work with. It’s clear that letting your guard down can help you connect with people, though it’s important to ensure that you encourage your staff to remain professional. With Christmas fast approaching, many workers will be enjoying a festive tipple or two with their colleagues, so gently remind staff what their actions could mean when they return to work!”