How Your Unique Qualities Can Be An Asset In The Workplace
There are eight characteristics that make a person attractive by Psych2Go, and being unique is the third. Although, there's a balance between showing your unique qualities and conforming that must be maintained as a professional to uphold a healthy identity and be seen as an asset in the workplace.
How Expressing Your Unique Qualities Conflicts With Conformity
There are many influences in your environment that guide you in discovering who you really are—friends, family, teachers, horoscopes, personality test, experts—although, they're not all accurate. They're based on generalizations, or they're derived from another person's experience and/or fears.
You're the only one who can define your true uniqueness. And you need to be clear on your identity in order to make yourself stand out—to be an individual, independent and special. To feel like an important speck on this massive planet.
But then there's this pull to be part of a group, a collective, or a community. You must have this connection with others to satisfy your need to feel important and to feed your desire for social connection.
After all, the perceptions of others is one of your barometers for measuring how unique you are.
Why Maintaining the Balance of Uniqueness and Conformity Is An Asset In The Workplace
You want to be seen as unique, but in order to fit in with a group you need to share common characteristics or interests with others. And to maintain this healthy balance you must be confident in who you are. Then you won't be concerned with losing that uniqueness or conforming to the group.
"Conformity happens when people give in to real or imagined social pressure. They relied on the group to give them more accurate information about what they were seeing." Roy Baumeister, Social Psychologist, Queensland University
This informational influence causes you to question your own beliefs.
Within a group you want to contribute, yet you also have that need to be accepted and be seen as an asset in the workplace.
You're told not to shine too bright or show off, so that you'll be accepted. Then you're encouraged to lead like a trail blazer and strive to be the best. But when, where and how much?
How Group Mentality Tries To Define Your Worth
It seems the only gauge you have for how you fit into a group is when you're put in your place! You overstep your bounds with your unique qualities and instead of showing your value and worth, they tell you what you're worth.
This group mentality I'm talking doesn't occur in just gangs or clubs, there's also this element in volunteer groups, and, as you've witnessed, at work. Some are focused so much on their agendas that they lose track of their true purpose. Why they formed this group or business in the first place takes a back seat to fulfilling personal needs and quests. And those are imposed onto you.
What You Give Up When Conforming To A Group
If you fear you won't be accepted, then you're more inclined to giving up much of your ideas and personality to fit in. A compromise you're willing to make in order to be a part of something bigger.
At times, you'll bend your rules or lower your standards far more than you want just to be accepted. Right and wrong becomes blurred and you begin to lose your identity. You become a nickname, a number, or some other generic title, like so-and-so's daughter or husband, or the new guy.
If your values are compromised and your standards are lowered too far, then you have to consider if you're committing time to the wrong group, employed at the wrong company, or hanging out with the wrong friends.
Conforming too much to the group makes you appear like everyone else. You no longer stand out and slip into the scenery, which also has you losing your marketability.
How Values Play A Role In Your Unique Qualities Being More Authentic and Natural
To keep yourself from falling into this situation, you need to know who you are. Understanding your wants and desires and what that gives you helps you to define your values.
When you remain true to your values you begin to use that as a reliable testing ground for all of your decisions. Saying 'no' becomes easier and expressing your unique skills feels more natural and authentic, no matter what environment you're in.
You're no longer that door mat. Instead, you've created this aura that tells others you know what you have to offer that's different from everyone else. This exudes strength and stability, and that's massively attractive!
How To Support Others In Finding Their Identity
I would love for this to be something taught in elementary schools. A course that has students explore what they want instead of what their parents, peers, or the system wants. To have their own identity, and not fall into the trap of giving up their values for the benefit of others.
We're all unique. We just have to define how, and own it.
Please share and comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
Christine Hourd, ACC is a certified professional success and leadership life coach in Calgary, Alberta. She works with clients, online and in-person, to remove obstacles and create strategies to discover their identity, purpose and career track. Talk to Christine and find out how the Success Mastery Program can help you reach your goals.