Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Three Questions to Assess an Employee’s Authenticity

Authenticity is not only a leadership quality but a digital professional trait.

Most of the employees at pyramidal organizations in the industrial age are like cogs in the huge mechanical business wheel, keep working, but lack the big picture about the strategic goals of their organizations as well as lack the imagination about their own potential. Now the new digital paradigm that is emerging is one of a living organization, one that is organic, alive, energetic, fluid, connected and holistic. Every staff is also like a living “cell,” can continue to discover and grow, creative and influential. So an important perspective for either talent managers or employees themselves is to ask tough questions and discover authenticity and purpose of the work, to unleash the collective human potential and business potential as well.

Who are you, as an individual, a digital professional or a leader?  There are many good talent theories around from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to Belbin’s team role, or the motivation scenario of “autonomy, mastery, and purpose,” the very goal is to discover human’s potential and keep our energy flow toward the positive direction. When digital workers are inspired to discover who they are, their inner genius, and empowered to grow into who they want to be, the negative emotions and unhealthy competitions are discouraged and every member can bring some wisdom to the workplace. Therefore, the members of an organization reflect its culture, meaning you select team members who are nature fit. Culture is determined by behaviors - how do you act/react to everything at all times. It is a reflection of the mindset. Successful culture change helps people become who they are. By encouraging people to focus on who they are, and pursue the purpose and master the expertises, the great culture catalyzes positive mind, attitude, and behaviors; but discourage negativity and unprofessionalism.

Originality - Are you an original thinker?  From the dictionary, originality means creative and independent thinking. The word, Original, comes from 'origin.' What we probably mean when we say original thinker is to be the origin of our thoughts. In other words, make our own mind up, or formulate our own conclusions, or ideas, or expressions. Original thinking is independent, creative, original, special or different. Being original is one of the important characteristics of authenticity because you don’t just blindly follow other people’s opinions or conventional wisdom. This world needs more of an original thinker than ever to handle the ever increasing complexities, and organizations need to be able to recognize them not least in order to innovate and adapt. Originality is valuable as Authenticity. It is not easy to recognize "original thinker," though, and it becomes more difficult as most of the modern people are too busy to even think and observe. Original thinking is a tough job and recognizes original thinking is equally tough if not less. The points like motivation, character, creativity, personality and confidence can be the indicator of original thinking which is also a trait of being authentic.

Are you consistent with what you think, what you say and what you act: Nowadays, digital makes things so transparent, your professional life is converged with your personal life, not only your words, but even your thoughts can be amplified via the speed of the internet. Consistency doesn’t mean to keep static, change is only constant, consistency means you can do a lot of different things in your career or life, but keep consistent of having intellectual curiosity, a growth mindset, a learning attitude; and building a set of cohesive capabilities; or you can stick to one thing, but doing it damn well, show consistent progress and keep a beginner’s mindset, look around, beyond, and underneath to transcend interdisciplinary knowledge into wisdom. It means the digital professionals with consistency can make a better balance, capture the substance of digital professionalism and trace the root at the heart of change dynamic. They are consistent in the habit of learning, delearning and relearning, not only do they keep consistent on themselves, what they think, what they say, or what they act, but also, they look for consistency in their teams, in their organization as well as in the ecosystem, as consistency harmonizes humanities.

Authenticity is not only a leadership quality but a digital professional trait. An authentic leader has character and courage to decide and act; an authentic digital professional can release more positive energy to influence the surroundings, dare to ask tough questions, and challenge conventional settings. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and be aware of how you impact others and your environment. It is crucial to getting to understand yourself and how others perceive you. "But change must always be balanced with some degree of consistency." - Ron D. Burton.


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