Being authentically you at work is a revolutionary act because no one else is doing it. Research has found that despite evidence that authenticity makes for a better workplace, most people don’t place any importance on it. Most workers are too caught up in impressing management to vocalize what they’re really thinking and feeling.
The discrepancy between who black women really are and the expectations outside groups have of us shows that we can’t afford the luxury of being fake. We are tackling two sets of assumptions by being black and women. These assumptions will never go away if we continue to tiptoe around them.
Research shows that suppressing one’s true identity may result in exposure to discriminatory behavior because you come off as “one of us.” Individuals who embrace their social identity can drive co-workers to be more sensitive to their behavior, even outside of the workplace.
I’m not advocating for being without a filter on the job; I want everyone to remain employed. Just let some of the personality you reserve for friends and family shine through. It probably won’t be easy. Cultures clash before they blend. You’re probably in for at least one awkward conversation. But it will be worth it in the long run. Bringing greater authenticity to the office has the potential to expose prejudiced behavior, smash assumptions, and just might make us happier in the process.