..theatrical performance or authenticity?

‘authenticity is letting go of should; be this, do this and the fake facades……just be you,’

author acw

With the sole purpose of getting ahead, I have seen employees go to great lengths to polish reputations, deliberately push buttons, self cultivate egos, perfect lying and ruthless climbing of the hierarchical ladder. Most in the working world have:

1. experienced

2. witnessed

3. participated

4. all of the above.

Theatrical performances in the workplace tell a complex story. Having a front row seat to many work related performances, doing my homework and research I’ve come to the following conclusions. There is far greater concern for earning more money, than for ones own health, well being and relationship connections to others.

Fundamental needs for ourselves and families are always first. Taking care of responsibility unquestionably the priority. However, in capitalist societies it is about material wealth, status, and the need to have and be better than the person to your right or left. Get more; money, attention, recognition, bigger office, and a much higher place on the org chart with an impressive complicated title. Win the race with the most.

So what does being authentic do for us?

Psychology Today defines authenticity as consciousness of oneself (Smerek, 2019). “Having the ability to look in the mirror and with truth/clarity of your values, share opinions and how you feel with others”.

As workplaces evolve the ability of its members that deliberately practice authenticity will grow with positive impacts to culture. One of the greatest benefits of an open environment is quality of its members communication.

The end result?

Greater knowledge of skill sets, compassion and understanding, deeper and more worthwhile conversations. Increased daily productivity and a balanced, healthier and happier place to be everyday….


According to dictionary.com, is an adjective meaning: 1. of resembling, or covered with fluff. 2. light and airy 3. having little or no intellectual weight; superficial or frivolous


There is much talk in the workplace centered around “the soft, fluffy people stuff”; that which often generates some frustration and usually delivered with verbal disdain or big sighs. It’s the difficult words thrown in the air all regarding the softer side of the workplace.

In the world of uber fast changing technology, the importance of recognizing and practicing  good communication skills only intensifies. It is so easy to get focused in task and technology that we devalue relationships necessary for connections, relationships, growth and innovation.

When the soft-fluffy talk occurs, it is a symptom of a much greater dilemma. It means that not only that there is discomfort with interpersonal exchange, but there is a problem with verbal expression, a lack of how-to communication skills and a lack of emotional intelligence. For some it may be far too close to an image they are trying to protect…or it’s the fear button that may have been pushed.

The most basic idea to understand is that the culture of any community, work or civil groups are created/maintained by its most important asset; its people, and yes it’s personal. Any research (Internet, education, or statistic) performed today provides a plethora of proof in the importance of relationships at work. These relationships are not limited to the internal environment , but reach business to business, customer and any network that one may interact within the business world.

Some of the most compelling data comes from Dr. Alex Pentland, Human Dynamics Lab at MIT. Dr. Pentland and his team have created a badge, that has the capability to gather some very human characteristics to measure where we have never gone before; the team environment in the workplace. The data painted a picture of the importance of working together by collecting from breathing patterns, reactions and many more non-verbal communication attributes. So detailed is this information, that they could determine as an example, if a particular team studied could collaborate to complete a successful project.

Rethink  the ‘soft, fluffy’ talk and the human emotions or other motivating factors behind those kinds of reactions. Open the door to flipping the pessimistic words into something greater;an open mind, compassion and a desire to build new bridges.