Say And Mean It: Don’t Just Ask For Authenticity In The Workplace, Make Space For It To Show Up!


Leaders requesting employees to show up, interact, and engage as their authentic selves must conquer the hill of gaining employees’ trust to achieve this goal. Frankly, the phraseology that says to bring your whole self to work is a paradox, for many of us still have the idea that Yes, do come, but within reason and these particular constraints. As a result, employees need clarification and will continue to question the request until there is proof that leaders can welcome and navigate these new relationships where full authenticity has a permanent place in the workplace. Consider that employees continue to weather storms that impact their ability to fulfill the request for full authenticity in the workplace. Failure to pay attention to strengthening trusting relationships for the newly defined workplace can cause implications on desired outcomes and derail diversity, equity, and inclusion plans and impact an organization’s reputation. As such, let’s look at some examples where inclusive leaders can gain applicable insights to create better trust in the workplace.

Start Or Continue To Create Safe Environments For Authentic Discussion Without Repercussions

In 2023, authentic conversations still need to be happening. While work deliverables can shift priorities, this is one area that needs to remain a priority. For example, some companies have begun to create safe incubators to cultivate and elevate overlooked talent to strengthen talent pipelines and win the war on talent. Indeed, leadership development remains a wise investment, as such scenarios are fertile for gaining access to rising inclusive leaders focusing on paying the investment forward. The gains for vulnerability are apparent when leaders across the board show up, share, engage and behave in ways that signal psychological safety is a priority, present, and a requirement for the organization’s culture.

Transparency Of Organization Norms And Rules Will Yield Positive Dividends In Building A Trusted Workplace

Employees still desire transparency in organizational decision-making, promotion, hiring, etc. Organizations should continue to provide visibility to these areas. Orientation is a great place to begin to deliver these insights. For tenured employees, employee resource groups are an avenue for sharing these strategies. In addition, ongoing intentional, structured connection opportunities can create more connection and profound learning. Explore hybrid options for greater reach. Provide clarity of what is required for career advancement to eliminate guesswork. Finally, across the organization, reiterate and ensure accountability measurements are in place to pulse-check trust factors consistently. Course correct, when necessary, until desired results are achieved.

Provide Services For Unhealed Trauma That Travels Into The Workplace Regularly

Many wounded employees exist in the workplace. Employees have long shown up with baggage that involves navigating stressors while producing results. Having a harmonious workplace isn’t a given. As such, effective leaders will recognize, acknowledge, and constantly iterate around solutions to tackle such challenges. Organizations placing emphasis and support on employee wellness will fare well. Strategies to consider include:

  1. Take the time to have honest conversations on how employees handle everyday stressors that aren’t easy to shake. Some identities feel the sting more than others, so a one size fits all solution isn’t suitable.
  2. Take actions equating to trust deposits, creating dependable relationships for employees. Understand that deposits, as well as withdrawals, are noticeable. Inclusive leaders can create a trust equation and share broadly.

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