Young, miserable businessman in black and white looks into a mirror at his colorful, happy authentic self enjoying purposeful work
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Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

Finding your kokorozashi will unify your passions and skills to create positive change in society. This GLOBIS Unlimited course will help you develop the values and lifelong goals you need to become a strong, passion-driven leader.

Do you have a “game face” for work? How much of what your boss and coworkers see of you is the real you?

People from underrepresented groups, in particular, are all too familiar with “covering” or “code switching” to fit in at the office. But employees are increasingly seeking out workplaces that have invested in psychological safety for authenticity of self and purposeful work.

As founder of Deeper Work, Nick Duggan helps promote inclusion and authenticity through leadership and career coaching. We spoke to him about how and why these are rising concerns in the modern workplace.

How to Find Your Authentic Self in the Modern Workplace

Insights: What is your definition of authenticity?

Duggan: At its core, there are really two components of authenticity.

Number one is to know yourself, to have that self-awareness of who you are and what you value. You can talk about things like knowing your purpose or your mission. You can also talk about your strengths, the perceptions that others have of you, how you want to show up, your motivations, your style—and what you want. All of those are important for authenticity.

Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

The other side of authenticity is acting in alignment with the things that are most important to you. So some of it is knowing, and then there’s the action part of it.

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Insights: Is there a methodology for how to find your authentic self and then act in alignment with it?

Duggan: It’s a lifelong process. In coaching, we often start with things like reflecting on your purpose and your mission, reflecting on your values. None of it is rocket science—it’s basically just different versions of the question “What really matters to you?”

Experiences matter, too—exploring and experimenting to find where you feel integrity.

Insights: It seems like a lot of people overly focus on the “action” part. How do you act with authenticity in a respectful way?

Duggan: I often talk to my colleagues or folks that I’m coaching about this. Being authentic doesn’t always mean having no filters or not listening to others.

You may have to adapt to the style of the team, to the culture that you’re working with, or to the situation. It shouldn’t just be, “It’s my way or the highway, and others be damned!” You can still find your own authentic way and act in alignment with what’s important to you, even while adapting to others.

Insights: So if you’re, say, someone with conservative religious views who wants to respect LGBTQ workplace equality, how do you remain authentic? What’s your advice for people who feel trapped between two worlds?

Duggan: For me, it’s about the attitude that we take collectively. Are we willing to actually listen to each other—really listen, hear someone out, understand, ask questions, be curious around how they came to their views? Or are we just listening to say, “I disagree with you”?

The intention to be authentic and the practice of being self-aware will help anyone, regardless of their belief system or the strength of their beliefs. So if someone has strong conservative beliefs or strong progressive beliefs, they have to think, “What is most important to me?”

I’ve worked with folks who identify as conservative Christians, and they bring a very committed sense of wanting to help people. We both know that we have different beliefs, but we can find common ground by showing up and listening to each other.

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The Crossroads of Purposeful Work and Inclusion

Insights: What is the connection between authenticity and inclusion?

Duggan: Authenticity is about bringing your whole self to work. Inclusion is about creating an environment where everyone can bring their whole selves to work.

We all want to be authentic, and we also want to create that experience for others. And that really is the essence of inclusion. No matter who someone is, being inclusive means taking into account culture and race and gender—all the factors that shape someone’s experience. Being inclusive also means looking at the systemic factors that may block some people’s ability to be fully authentic at work.

Insights: What should leaders be mindful of to promote inclusion and avoid things like racism in the workplace or favoritism in the workplace?

Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

Finding your kokorozashi will unify your passions and skills to create positive change in society. This GLOBIS Unlimited course will help you develop the values and lifelong goals you need to become a strong, passion-driven leader.

Duggan: There’s a lot of research around the concept of “covering” in the US. This is where people from a historically marginalized group feel like they have to hide elements of their authentic self. I’ve heard from Black women, for example, who talk about code switching in the way they speak at work compared to with family or friends. People feel the pressure to cover a part of their identity or switch to a different way of being because it’s more “acceptable” in the workplace—the accent or the clothing or the hairstyle.

As a leader, you want to make a safe space. But you always want to start with being respectful and honoring privacy. I’m gay myself, and I’m out at work, but if I wasn’t, and my boss happened to know about it and announced it in a company meeting, that would cross a line.

The Golden Rule is known through many of the world’s religions and philosophical traditions: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But there’s now the idea of the Platinum Rule.

Insights: What is the Platinum Rule?

Duggan: The Platinum Rule takes things a bit further from an inclusion perspective: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”

As a simple example, there was once someone on my team who didn’t like being recognized publicly. And we kind of had a tradition of shoutouts for people doing great things. As a leader, it was an adjustment for me to start recognizing her privately.

Insights: So apart from communicating with individuals to understand boundaries, what do you tell leaders who want to develop authentic leadership characteristics to promote inclusion and purposeful work?

Duggan: There are a couple things they can do.

First, educate yourself. Don’t put the burden on others to educate you. Go online or read a book like Beyond Your Bubble or We Can’t Talk about That at Work! There’s lots of great reading material out there.

Second, be thoughtful, empathetic, and listen. Curiosity is the place to start, rather than coming in and saying, “I don’t understand this,” or “Here’s what I believe,” or “Convince me that I’m wrong.”

Finally, be willing to make mistakes. Sometimes leaders avoid taking action because they’re worried about what will happen. But it’s better to do something and make a mistake—and then learn from it—than to do nothing. There’s almost nothing you can’t recover from if your heart and intention are in the right place, as long as you’re willing to learn and change.

That’s what purposeful work is really about—making sure your heart is in the right place, and then taking action from there.

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