Written by Doctor G

If you don’t agree, can you still care?


Last week on my Think Tank on Resilience we dove into the topic of authenticity.

This was a selfish choice on my part. I wanted to talk about authenticity so that I could figure out how to be authentically me and still be kind. Because my true, authentic reaction to some statements, some people, some situations is… not kind. Impatient, dismissive, frustrated, bored, sarcastic, sure. But kind? Not always.

There are a ton of reasons to aim for authenticity. The most practical is that authentic leaders have stronger teams – people do better work when they believe in and trust their leader. The most self-interested reason is that authenticity improves mental health by building connections (only if you bring your true self can you believe that you belong and are safe, otherwise you think people only like the fake version of you). 

My concern has always been that my authentic self is a little much for some folks.

Enter Pat Wadors, the Chief People Officer of UKG (look ‘em up if you’d like but suffice it to say she has 15000 employees looking to her for human resources and guidance). She tackled this question head on and taught me this lesson:

You can authentically disagree with someone and still be a good leader, if you authentically care about their wellbeing and success.

To quote noted author and behavior expert Ariel HaLevi, “You can be right and empathetic, just not in that order.”

To be a good leader we do have to care about our people. We get all of the advantages of being authentic, if we lean into that caring while we bring our true selves.

Do you have a time or a role in your life where you fear letting out “too much” authenticity?

All my best,

Dr. G

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A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
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