The Surprising Effects of Concealing Your Identity at Work

Be true to yourself.

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It can be tempting to mask your true self in order to blend in with those around you. Research shows, however, that hiding your identity in the workplace can have damaging effects on you and your colleagues.

According to an article from The Economic Times of India, concealing the traits that make you unique can contribute to lower job satisfaction and self-esteem issues.

Those were the findings of studies from the Netherlands and the U.S. that examined “stigmatized” characteristics, such as being LGBT, traits associated with a history of poverty, or mental or physical illness.

Researchers asked participants how they would feel after hiding or displaying the stigmatized characteristics. In the situations where people concealed their true selves, their social interactions suffered, as did their commitment to their work.

“People may choose to conceal stigmatised identities because they want to be accepted, but in fact doing so reduces feelings of belonging,” Professor Manuela Barreto of the University of Exeter told the Times of India.

While openness about one’s true character generally leads to positive outcomes for everyone involved, the researchers do not suggest openness in all situations, due to the “hidden ramifications of prejudice.”

“What we need,” Barreto said to the Times, “are environments where people don’t need to hide—inclusive environments where people don’t have to make a choice between being liked and being authentic.”

Read more here.

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