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Encouraging our team members to be themselves

A workplace challenge from Brené Brown

“Be here

Be you

Belong”

Brené Brown

Is this possible in workplaces where people are vying to impress to step up the corporate ladder?

Is this even something that managers encourage – do we really want our team members to “be you” or do we secretly want them to “be me?”

Having a team of clones is fine if you are wanting a cookie cutter approach to your business; everything the same. However, if you want innovation and creativity then you are only going to thrive when you foster the “be you” way of thinking.

A good starting point as a Manager is to ask who are you? Getting people to understand their values and their strengths individually and then share them with their team. Having a wall of people’s values allows people to see and be seen in their work team. It celebrates people’s differences. Of course it is often these differences that are in fact our superpowers. We certainly do not want to hide these.

By celebrating who people are in their own unique way you are definitely taking a step forward in helping people to be themselves; to “be you”. This is the only way that people flourish. You can’t thrive trying to be someone else, but you can thrive at being you. It seems common sense that we want our teams to be working at their optimal level when they come in and work for us. We want our team to be great don’t we, or will good suffice?

As Brené Brown often refers to though; this is not for the faint hearted, it takes courage to actually welcome and embrace differences in a team . Even in a small way in my own workplace where we regularly review reports from a quality perspective to ensure they are meeting medico legal requirements; I always encourage new team leaders not to over correct. Yes we need to make sure the document is sound medico legally, but we don’t want to drown out the writer’s voice; we don’t want everyone to sound the same. We want people to have their own style and way of conveying their message. It‘s easy to say “this is the way.” What takes skill however, is being curious and open to saying yes this is one way, but is there another way as well?

By doing the latter we allow our team members learning their profession, to have confidence in themselves and develop their own voice in the world of workplace health and wellbeing. We are then taking a step forward in encouraging these new consultants to be courageous when they go into our customer’s workplaces. Because they have then seen this behaviour modelled, when they are consulting they can also say – yes I understand you have always done something in this way but is there another way of doing this? In doing so perhaps it leads to new ways, better ways, innovation and creativity. It leads to great! They certainly would not do this if the message from us was “there is only one way to do things.” If we really want great, the message has to be: “BE YOU”.

What we do know is the world is changing faster than it ever has before. To respond and to meet this change we are going to need problem solvers, innovation and creativity. The cookie cutter approach is not going to cut it. Be here, be you, wherever that might be.

So by encouraging our team members to “be you” and recognising and celebrating the individuals in our team and the unique characteristics they bring, perhaps we can all thrive. And personally, I think this brings us one step closer to being great. I think when we say to our teams “it is okay to be you,” we also foster a sense of connection and ultimately belonging.

Let’s just start – be here, be you!

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