The Real deal.

I met a deck salesman yesterday that I liked very much. He shared bits and pieces of his life, and we related on many different levels. Here is the thing, I know this is part of his pitch, but I also know he enjoyed the meeting as well. Even though he may not get the sale, it was an enjoyable conversation. The guy had come all the way from Milwaukee (a three hour drive) just to give me an estimate.

The price for the deck was not cheap, but we may do it just because of the salesman. He was genuine. I knew more about this guy in an hour and a half than I do about people I’ve known for 20 years. We laughed, we showed each other photos of fun things in our lives, and we talked about our families. He may just get this sale. Why? Because he was the real deal.

My question to you: How much do you share of yourself and your personal life in the workplace? Do people at work really know you? Do you share details about your personal life or do you keep your personal life separate? Do you get to know the people? How do you gain the trust of your colleagues? Are you a different person at home than you are at work? Are you genuine? Are you the real deal?

People spend a lot of time at work. Let’s do the math. There are 168 hours in a week. If you are lucky 56 of those hours are sleeping. For waking hours, we have a total of 112 hours. If you put in a 45 hour work week, more than 40% of your life is spent with the people you work with. My question to you is this: if almost half of your life is spent at work, shouldn’t you get to know the people you work with? Wouldn’t it be a much more positive experience if you trusted the people you spend almost half your life with?

In June, I went to a conference for creatives, and the main takeaway of ALL of the speakers at this conference was, be the real deal. Share your personal journeys. Build trust in your work environment by getting to know one another. Trust is built by showing people who you really are, and that involves more than just who you are at work. “Trust is built when someone sees that you truly value them as a person and not just as an employee.” ~Betsy Allen Manning. Be your own genuine self inside and out of the office.

I’ve been in the workforce for over 32 years and this I know to be true, the only people I’ve trusted in the workplace are the ones who were their genuine selves. They shared their lives outside of work. They talked about their families. They talked about the fun they had last weekend, what they did last night, and not just about the work. Although sharing your personal world leaves you vulnerable, it also lets people in. It builds trust. It helps you get to know people.

Don’t get me wrong, work needs to get done, and you can’t spend all of your time talking about life, but being your genuine self, getting to know your colleagues on a personal level, being able to trust people, having a positive relationship with people leads to creativity and productivity when you are doing your job. Trust is the only way to have a healthy work environment. Being the real deal, being your genuine self is the only way to build trust.

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