Why is it that we behave so differently in the workplace? At home we’re less prone to backstabbing, manipulation or flagrant displays of ego. So, if we all chilled-out a bit, wouldn’t we just get more work done?
Maybe, but just as likely there will be some social behaviours that are not appropriate in the workplace. A starting point is understanding a little bit more about yourself. Greg Dixon points to personality tests — if you have a very dominant personality style you know to moderate it a little in the workplace and others will understand why you behave the way you do.
It’s a useful thing to do, but you should also avoid being too obsessed with yourself. Andrew Griffiths, author of The Me Myth, reckons this is one of our big problems, at work and at home. Instead, he says, we should always try to see things as others do. In short, look outwards, not inward.
Not being so self-obsessed will also help relieve stress. Erica Bagshaw says we’re so concerned about how others see us that we put unrealistic expectations on our status. Let it go, and a whole world lifts off your shoulders. Being worried about our social standing is another example of self obsession which, it seems, is just a waste of time.
There are occasions when we do need to take a long hard look at ourselves though. If you’re just not getting results at work, you just might lack charisma to carry people along with your ideas. No problem, charisma can be bluffed says Dr Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communications coaches. It’s all to do with focus.
We also look at two other personality traits that need to be moderated — first, anger. Jasmine Sliger says more of us are getting angry more often, perhaps because of this driving force to keep up with the Jones’. The other issue is an unswerving belief in your own abilities. Economist Joshua Gans points to the Rudd government — the infamous gang of four consulting on very little until it was too late. Hearing more opinions invariably brings better results, yet many of us still believe it’s a waste of time.
So it helps to be yourself at work to an extent — so long as you understand who you really are and you are prepared to compensate for some of the more counter-productive elements of your personality.