5 canny ways for bringing your whole self to work

authenticity behaviours change leadership change management Jun 11, 2023
Lata in a purple top smiling; text: 5 canny ways for bringing your whole self to work

So much of a Change Manager’s job is to build deep and trusting relationships with their stakeholders, leaders and teams. It helps you to find out who’s who in the zoo, get the right information, keep your ear to the ground, get support, time and resource to lead and deliver your change to the business, and foster collaboration to co-create and co-design so people are involved and onboard. But I like to say you’ve got to “trust first”. Trust is not "earned", it's actually automatically "given" when the invitation to trust to extended. And a fantastic approach to deepen the trust from yourself and to your stakeholders is to bring your whole self to work.


Here’s 5 ways to do it:


1. Dress for your personality

Early in my career I worked in big corporates BUT I worked in Marketing teams that had a little more pizzazz than some of the other departments in their black and navy skirt suits (yes, I worked in a bank). My skin tone, personality and style preference lean to fluid flow and bright colours that fit my Indian sub-continent body and feel comfortable and relaxed while still popping with vibrancy. When I’m comfortable and feel like the front I’m presenting is the true me, it’s easier to be relaxed with stakeholders (especially when meeting them for the first time!). 


2. Talk about your passions

Finding points of connection is an easy and rapid way to build rapport and truly - we’re not working with robots (yet!). I love flowers, food, Regency period drama, overseas travel and small dogs - which most people do! I openly talk about the things I love because, as leadership speaker Simon Sinek says, trust is built in the micro-moments between meeting agendas.


3. Get involved in office events

Projects are busy and hard and it’s easy to get absorbed in your work and completely forget to play. I see a lot of contractors especially completely tap out of team events or office culture - they’re there for their day rate, to log off at 5pm and live their best life outside of work. Office socials and celebrations aren’t a cure-all but they certainly help work feel lighter, more fun and more connected and it’s an amazing time to meet people you might not normally work with, who may turn out to be awesome stakeholders or advocates down the track for your change. Carve the time out to jump on that cooking class, go to that diversity lunch, attend that new site showcase, or spend a day with colleagues at the offsite or Christmas party.


4. Share your background

Transferable skills are your superpower and can be a great way to leverage new approaches and ways of thinking today that might otherwise feel a little disjointed. No matter what role you’re in, share your previous workplaces, roles, and where appropriate, projects, or any extra training, courses or certifications you’ve done. For example, I’ll let people know that I’m a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner and a trained coach and that I bring that stuff into my Change work. It helps to give context for people to understand your background and where you’re coming from, but also to celebrate and recognise your past achievements and experiences that have led you to today.


5. Admit you know nothing, Jon Snow

When I’m new to a project, team or client company, I am more than happy to share and admit that I haven’t worked in the organisation, I don’t know much about it yet, that I’m new to the industry etc. It helps to calm people’s fears you’ll take their job (especially if you’re a contractor or consultant, but really this can be a challenge for any Change Manager), but also lets you probe and ask questions and clarify who’s who, how things are done, what the challenges have been and what the opportunities are. It’s a charming and disarming way of taking a formal meeting back to just a conversation. And the best part: it’s 100% true!



If you’re feeling unsure about your career progression and future and looking for ways to navigate the changing job market with confidence, definitely come along to my free “How to Future-Proof Your Career With Confidence” webinar that I’ll be hosting with my friends at General Assembly. 


My webinar is being held live globally by General Assembly at the following times:

  • Thursday 22 June: 10am Sydney | 9am Singapore | 2am London
  • Wednesday 21 June: 9pm New York | 6pm Pacific


CLICK HERE to register your free spot on my webinar with General Assembly


Lata xx

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