Is authenticity vital today?

Is authenticity vital today?

Yes, and if so, even more important in today’s context.

What is authenticity? Authenticity, one of the VIA‘s strengths, is defined as “owning one’s personal experiences, be they thoughts, emotions, needs, preferences, or beliefs, processes captured by the injunction to know oneself” and “behaving in accordance with the true self” (Harter, 2002, p. 382). In essence, authenticity is being real and true to yourself.

Definitely, authenticity is vital in the extrapersonal (dealing with groups of individuals), interpersonal (dealing on a one-on-one basis) and intrapersonal (dealing with yourself) domains. However, the crux of the issue lies not in being authentic, but in daring to be authentic.

Wanting to be authentic is one thing, however, having the courage to be authentic is another. Sometimes in our interactions with people, we may display a certain measure of inauthenticity. For example, when we are thrown into an unfamiliar situation where we need to collaborate with strangers, we may display our best behaviour or perhaps inhibit our personality. Reasons for doing so may be attributed to our extroversion-introversion levels and our defence mechanisms (examples such as negative feelings caused by being judged by others, our insecurities and our confidence levels).

My point is, do not let your negativities restrict your authentic self. Instead, let your authenticity shine. By being authentic, greater self-esteem, better psychological well-being, increased feelings of friendliness and heightened performance may be experienced (Grandey, Fiske, Mattila, Jansen, & Sideman, 2005). This translates into holistic happiness and radiant health. In other words, this suggests greater efficiency and effectiveness at work, deeper satisfaction and involvement in relationships, as well as a keener and developed self-awareness.

How can we be authentic? A powerful blueprint could be Bill George’s (2003) concept called Authentic leadership with three main points:

1. Self-awareness

Understand ourselves especially our strengths and weaknesses. Understand also the sparkles within us that encapsulate our self. Moreover, gain insights into ourselves and become aware of our influence on others. This may be achieved through people interactions and psychological interventions.

2. Develop and practice your values

Determine, enhance and enforce your values in all situations. Our values are visible in the actions we perform, and staying true to our values inspires trust, building on our authenticity.

3. Lead with your heart

Be open and share of yourself with others fully. Also, inculcate and show a genuine interest in others. Inspire others with your empathy, compassion, passion and courage. And always listen, listen and listen.

Are you ready to be authentic?

References

George, B. (2003). Authentic leadership: Rediscovering the secrets to creating lasting value. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Grandey, A. A., Fiske, G. M., Mattila, A. S., Jansen, K .J., & Sideman, L. A. 2005. Is “service with a smile” enough? Authenticity of positive displays during service encounters. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 96: 38-55.

Harter, S. 2002. Authenticity. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology: 382-394. London: Oxford University Press.

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