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PGDM 2020-22 BATCH
One word to describe the heading “Be yourself, but carefully” is
AUTHENTICITY. Authenticity has become the gold standard for
But a simplistic understanding of what it means can hinder your growth
and limit your impact.


Being true to Maintaining Making

yourself strict coherence value-based
between what you choices
feel and what you
say or do
The honest sharing of thoughts, feelings, and experiences at work is a
double-edged sword: Despite its potential benefits, self-disclosure can
backfire if it’s hastily conceived, poorly timed, or inconsistent with cultural
or organizational norms.


Executives lacking Poor Communicators

Oblivious Leaders Inscrutable Leaders
Bumblers Social Engineers
Open Books
Oblivious leader is one who is not aware of or not concerned about what is
happening around him/her. And thus reveal information and opinions in a
manner that appears clueless or phony.
For example: The director of sales and business development for a global
software company, Lori, sees herself as an inclusive and participatory and
likes to tell stories about her time as a junior staff member and how much
she valued having a voice in decisions. However her subordinates finds it
highly directive and does not find her profound.

Bumblers know much about themselves but they are not aware of how to
present infront of others. Incompetent to their colleagues social cues,
bumblers make ill-timed, inappropriate disclosure.
For example: Roger, a partner of multinational company was asked to
boost the market share of his Asia-Pacific office. While coaching, he shared
a story about losing his first client, to which the Asian colleagues believe
that new leader turns out to be a risk for their honor.
Open books talk endlessly about themselves, about others, about
everything; they’re too comfortable communicating. So although colleagues
may seek them out as sources of information, they ultimately don’t trust
For example: An outgoing senior manager, Jeremy, through his warmth and
intelligence has ability to draw anyone into conversation as if they are his
friends. But his aggressive familiarity questions whether he is prudent
enough for client work.

Inscrutable leaders are quiet introvert and finds difficulty in sharing
information about themselves at office. They can’t create long-term office
For example: Aviva, a registered dietician is talented and passionate,
however fails to communicate her enthusiasm and long term vision. Even at
female entrepreneur meet she opted to present basic annual report rather
than attracting the audience with personal story like others did.
Social engineers are similar to inscrutable and to bumblers but their
chief shortcoming is the way they encourage self-disclosure within their
work groups. Instead of modeling desired behaviors, they sponsor
external activities such as off-site team building.
For example: Andrew is a unit head at a financial services firm with an
ultracompetitive corporate culture. Every year, he sends his team on a
mandatory retreat run by an outside consultant who demands personal
revelations in artificial settings. Yet Andrew never models or encourages
self-disclosure in the office—and he looks the other way if employees
exploit colleagues’ self-revealed weaknesses to get ahead.
• Heading towards new development in leadership and management, we are taught to
bring our full selves to the office.
• But on the other hand, we should be aware of presenting the quality and quantity of
information about our self for effective leadership.

• For example: Mitch, the director of a major U.S. university in a meeting with a dean of
a prominent college mentioned about his excitement for attending the meeting which
turns out to be a rejection of his proposal. This happened because of his friendly
behaviour and self-deprecating attitude.
• Subdued by that experience, he decided to be better at revelation. For instance, while in
meeting with a partner, she raised a question whether her students could perceive at his
• To which he shared his personal experience of challenges faced in exchange program .
This story demonstrated an understanding to his partner’s concern.

1. Build a foundation
of self knowledge

2. Consider relevance
to the task

3. Keep revelations

4. Understand the
organisational and
cultural context

5. Delay or avoid very

personal disclosures
1. Build a foundation of self knowledge
Building a foundation implies gaining knowledge about yourself and this could
be achieved by getting honest feedbacks from colleagues and follow that up.
One must take different prospective into consideration like livelihood, work
experience, opportunities that test his/her comfort zone. This reflects your real

2. Consider relevance to the task

The goal of self-disclosure is not to promote yourself or create personal
relationships. A skill full disclosure consist of information, process and timing of
revelation that is necessary for performance of task
In example of Roger, a partner at multinational company, we found that his team
development efforts fails as he trips to foster intimacy rather than task related
revelation .
Prime goal is to build trust which enkindle better collaboration.
3. Keep revelations genuine
For revelation to be genuine, it requires minimal mental efforts but to blow one’s
own trumpet managers design tales.
For instance, Take Allan who stepped down from position of associate director
of marketing in regional hotel chain because of his trump up stories. She usually
cite examples of using social media for promoting the hotel when this
technology was not known much
the problem came when because of her over friendly behaviour, she evate the
details to his young colleagues for better relations. This eventually found out and
led to his departure.
Instead try to find real even if it is less perfect disclosure, it will draw empathy.
4. Understand the organizational and cultural context
With the increase in international business, it is considered in business ethics to
investigate the corporate culture to other countries.
we should have a conversation with respected insiders about how people work
and what level of forthrightness is expected.
Since every country have different perspectives towards business ethics, this could
be a reason why Roger was put off by his Asian colleagues over his readiness to
share personal stories regardless of his context.

5. Delay or avoid very personal disclosure

Sharing too much personal information may break professional relationship and
socio-cultural norms of behaviour.
For example: Helen, who is owner of health care agency was asked to introduce
herself at a training program.
Due to sleepless night with sick child, she shared her exhausting experience rather
than telling about her education and industry background . It took her months to
restore creditability.
To develop a strong business relation, the two must develop common objectives,
outline goals and roles and demonstrate trustworthiness through work. This will
eventually develop a foundation of personal and professional relationship
• Self disclosure is a natural human behaviour but turns out to be risky in
business. It is a valuable management tool but it must be used judiciously.
• Managers must organize detailed interview over personal and
professional history, success and failure that helps us to choose which
story needs to be shared
• The main objective of self disclosure is to connect and gain trust of
colleagues in order to make performance effective.
Excessive exaggeration seems to be good idea but can harm a lot by
degrading your professional ethics.
• Apart from internal organization, we must be aware of international
premises by investigating the business ethics of other countries for proper
functioning among countries
• To become a effective leader it is necessary to examine WHEN, WHAT
AND HOW the information must be shared so it do not hamper the
business objectives.
• This presentation is a summary of Howard Business Review on “BE
YOURSELF, BUT CAREFULLY” by Lisa Rosh and Lynn
• LISA ROSH is an assistant professor of management at the Sy Syms
School of Business at Yeshiva University.
• LYNN OFFERMANN is a professor of organizational sciences and
communication at the George Washington University.