Reasons to NOT be authentic at work

Any book on leadership today tells you the importance of being genuine.

Today I’m going to disagree.  Here’s why shouldn’t be authentic at work.

Sometimes the genuine you brings everyone else down

I had a friend in college who was moody.  He wasn’t depressed, but just subject to lots of mood swings.  Some days he would just say, “Guys, I’m working alone today because you don’t want to be around me right now.”

I for one appreciated this.  He felt that his day was going to be bad and he thought there was no reason to make everyone else’s the same.  Makes sense to me.

Believe me, you don’t want to know the 100% genuine me.  Some of my thoughts and feelings need to be buried and changed.  They don’t help anyone.

Venting only makes it worse

There’s an idea out there that venting makes you feel better.  It doesn’t.  It just helps you get worked up and emotionally distraught even more than you were before you started your cathartic vent.

And it brings everyone else down too (see point #1).

Bring value to the lives of others

Like everyone, I have good days and bad.  And I do my dead level best not to inflict my negative emotions on my clients on those bad days.  It’s my job to bring value to them, not to bring them down.

Start your day asking how you’re going to lift someone else:

  • A customer/client
  • Coworker
  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Starbucks barista
  • Harried airline employee
  • Whoever

It’s your moral duty to do your best to act happy

Act happy.  Not feel happy.  Big difference.

When you work alongside a miserable person, your life gets miserable too.  When you work with a positive person, it rubs off.

Acting happy makes you feel happier.

Attitudes are like the flu; they are quickly caught by everyone around you.

Here’s a maxim to repeat to yourself every day:

“My attitude is a servant of my will, not a victim of my emotions.”


Getting ahead is about getting started.  And nothing makes a bigger difference in your life than the attitude you start the day with.

The battle is won before the battle is begun.

Have (make it) a great week!

Trevor head shot in office 1

Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at

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