People who are themselves in work fare better, says expert

Employment expert Sandra Henke says such people more creative and less stressed

Good leaders set the tone. Photograph: iStock

Good leaders set the tone. Photograph: iStock


People who bring their “authentic selves” to work tend to be more creative and have higher job satisfaction, according to employment expert Sandra Henke.

Ms Henke, global head of people and culture with Hays Recruitment, is in Ireland to speak at Inspirefest, an international festival of technology, science, design and the arts.

She said people who bring their authentic selves to the workplace also experience a greater sense of inspiration and lower stress. Everyone loves to do the work they are naturally good at, she said.

“When people can get into that state, where they are less self-conscious about trying to fit in politically to an organisation, and they can turn all that energy into creativity and productivity, we benefit, they benefit and society as a whole benefits,” she said.

She highlighted the tension between individual authenticity, which is about being true to yourself and your own spirit, and externally imposed norms, such as work culture.

“Regardless of that tension, I think we all know intuitively that if we work in a job we are not passionate about or work somewhere we don’t feel we fit, we don’t bring the best of ourselves to that,” she said.

Moderate yourself

She does not think people should behave in work exactly as they behave at home.

“We are all moderating our behaviour all of the time. How I speak with my grandmother is different from how I speak with my friends in our personal lives,” she said. “So really, professional authenticity could be: how do I bring myself to work, but how do I moderate myself in a way that helps achieve the goal that we are all working towards?”

Ms Henke said that requires good leadership. Good leaders set the tone, she said.

“From an organisational point of view, give leaders great training and encourage them to be authentic and to value that in the people they have working with them,” she said.

The benefits for a workplace in doing that include that people will do a better job and will use their hours more productively and constructively.

  • Inspirefest is taking place in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin