Who are you at work?
By Andy Meyer
Video team, TED
"Be yourself" is one of the most common pieces of advice you get in life. Social situations, job interviews ... it's everybody's favorite rhetorical pat on the back. But it meant absolutely nothing to me until I watched Frances Frei's TED Talk.
Frances's talk is about authenticity -- in the workplace and in your personal life -- and it changed my understanding of the whole issue. A Harvard professor, Frances delivers a candid personal story about trying to reinvent herself from the outside-in and be accepted as trustworthy at her new job by her younger, hipper colleagues.
Her talk explains the three pillars for creating a framework for building trust: authenticity, rigorous logic and empathy. At the same time, she explores the dangers of trying to force or fake how we act, and she explains how one of those pillars "wobbling" can bring all our efforts crashing to the ground.
Frances reminds me of the pressure of fitting in at a new job and the perils of trying to establish reciprocity too fast and without a sturdy foundation. I've been guilty of it, and I've seen it happen to others. I think we can all learn a lot from Frances about how to stay true to ourselves while also being our best selves at work.