True authenticity, or being authentic, means someone is living in touch with and from his unique composition of qualities. Behaving authentically means that behaviour demonstrated is congruent with and grounded in these unique qualities. At first glance, human beings may look similar. Looking deeper, beyond the apparent sameness, every human being is unique, both in the composition of qualities and capabilities, and in the diversity of expression.
Organisations love-hate Authenticity
Organisations have a love-hate relationship with human beings behaving authentically. Organisations want uniqueness and drive sameness. It shows with new employees. They are selected during the job interview for their unique qualities. The moment the relationship is sealed (labour contract signed), the new employee is homogenized by receiving all kind of conditioning requirements like behavioural do’s and don’ts, role demands and limits, framework boundaries and cultural characteristics. In order to be accepted, the new employee submerges his authenticity to comply with the requirements. The full reach of uniqueness is restricted from day one. The result is homogenization of the individual to the needs of the organisation in order to be safely predictable in delivering results.
Organisations need Authentic Human beings
Organisations need authenticity, whether liked or not. Homogenized sameness kills the healthy friction, which is the source of growing value creation. Constructive collisions of authentically behaving people fuels healthy friction, which fuels value creation. The real challenge for organisations, and in particular for leaders, is first to define a guiding Framework that is the same for everyone. Second, to give freedom inside the framework, the space for individual, authentic, uniqueness. Third, to grow the capability of themselves and the people around them to deal with the space given.