From our first day at work, we try to fit in. It’s what you do. It’s a good enough organisation, maybe even great. So, we fly their flag. And, yes, our friends would recognise the person they saw at work. We are being our selves.
Let’s turn things on their head. What happens if we aren’t encouraged to fit in when we join? Let’s think about this entirely differently.
What if we were encouraged to think about our new role as an opportunity to express our self? Reframe it as a chance to engage our signature strengths and unique contribution. Authentic self-expression.
Is this the stuff of fantasy? Surely, every organisation needs to shape and control new hires; reduce their anxiety by telling them what is expected. Recent research has shown that focusing on the individual’s personal identity during on boarding creates outstanding results for the organisation.
Leaders who focused on being their ‘authentic best selves’ delivered higher quality work and improved retention. They were significantly more satisfied and engaged. Their clients were happier than the control group.
Along side other exercises and as part of the research study, these new hires were asked
• What three words best describe you? • What is unique about you that leads to your happiest times and best performance at work? • Reflect on a time when you were acting the way you were ‘born to act’. How can you repeat that at work?
This approach significantly outperformed other groups that were asked to focus on the organisation, or the skills they needed, when they joined.
In our transition coaching, we work – among other themes - with how the new leader and organisation shape and are shaped by each other. In ‘Leadership Transitions’, the authors describe this dance and the importance of knowing your own ‘true north’ during the maelstrom of a new role.
This research explores something that we already intuitively know. Revealing what sits at the core of each new leader determines the strength of their contribution.