Just like chameleons, humans have the ability to blend in. While our skin doesn't change colors, what we say, how we act, what we do and how we dress often depends on where we are and who we are with - whether consciously or unconsciously. We often talk about our "work life," "love life" and "personal life" as if they are different things despite being a part of the one single life we live. In the opening line of the article Can you really be yourself at work? posted on BBC News, it asks a pointed question: "When you're at work, do you behave in the same way as you do when you're at home? Or do you have a work persona - a duller, more subdued version of your real self?" We all have different versions of ourselves, but is that really the healthiest approach to separating work and life? Is it actually damaging the company?
Elisa Steele, Jive CEO and firm believer that work and life are one and the same, talks about how society is shifting and how she's embracing the change. While businesses tend to mold their employees into a certain role without considering them as a unique person, they are starting to rethink how they treat their employees. There is a push back from employees who want to be able to be themselves at work and demand a culture that supports and allows them to thrive as an individual.
Elisa explains how Jive has welcomed new Jivers and accepts them the way they are from Day One. "They feel the culture," she says, "because they have complete access to the whole company the first day they start." Being transparent is the best way to encourage people to in turn becoming transparent about who they are and how they work, rather than simply doing as they are told. Elisa intentionally works transparently so that Jivers, no matter how new to the company, has a solid understanding of the foundation the company is built on and staying connected.
In the past, businesses have favored CEOs that rule with a strong hand who tells everyone exactly what to do and how to do it. That isn't cutting it anymore. Dr. Doty, the founder and director of The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine talks about how this kind of leadership creates stress and does not actually improve productivity. Treating employees as replaceable is not beneficial for the company and can mentally drive employees into the ground with anxiety, stress and pressure.
Read the full BBC News article for more in depth discussions with Elisa Steele of Jive, Dr. Jim Doty of Stanford University School of Medicine and Sebastian Siemiatkowski of a Swedish start-up called Klarna. See how the industry is changing, what kind of leaders foster the best employees and why you should celebrate the freedom of being yourself in the workplace.