What’s a proper business person look like anyway?
The Christmas holiday has just finished but I’m so glad it’s weekend already! Although I have to say that I just LOVE teaching – it’s so good to be in touch with the students again, and to finally know most of their names (finally!). I can imagine that if any my students are reading this – they think – aargh – horrible mentor who doesn’t even remember me. But that’s not true! (I just have trouble with names!)
Anyhow, we had presentations this week. And it’s funny that at university I really hated presenting. I avoided it like the plague. So, when students are nervous, or dislike presenting, I really empathize! Not surprisingly, most of the students did really well! (These kids are more evolved than I was in some ways!)
What I also love, is watching how they grow and change from year one to year two, or even from September to January. After all, I’m not only their mentor, but also they teacher of Professional Development. As such, it’s part of my job to help them become ‘proper’ business people.
Proper? Ha ha, what the heck is that? What I am NOT looking for is clones that wear business suits and are formal and distant and not themselves. I think that in today’s business world (and the world in general), we are seeing many shifts – one of which is a change from a traditional business model where the main focus is on management and profit. We have a growing sharing economy, financial systems that are wildly unstable and jobs where hours are flexible, you might work from home and there are no guarantees. What I discovered in the past years, is that there is a growing trend towards valuing self awareness, and authenticity.
We used to say “walk the walk and talk the talk” and yes, if you are a surfer dude, you might have to conform slightly towards a different norm than what you’re used to. But otherwise, actually being yourself – being real – a whole person, with imperfections, and yet able to see those, and share those, is highly valued – yes, also in the workplace.
If you’re going through a personal crisis, or even, like I did recently, getting married, should you bite the bullet and pretend that all is hunky-dory? Or might it be better to communicate with others that you work with what’s up with you?
This gives them the chance to understand why you are unusually stressed, but also gives you a chance to let off some steam by talking about it.
Bottom line: Be yourself! The best version of yourself that you can be, the part that you yourself love, ‘cause most likely that’s what others will love as well.