Being your true self at work


Image description: Out at work - line of people in black suits with 1 in blue holding a rainbow ball.


People perform better when they can be themselves. This was a phrase used by Stonewall to describe their work towards creating inclusive workplaces for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. But what exactly does it mean? Why would you not be yourself? Who would you be instead? To some, being themselves is easy and uncomplicated, but for many this isn’t the case.


Introduction

If you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, you may not find it quite so easy to completely be yourself at work. You may feel, that for one reason for another, you need to hide this aspect of yourself from your colleagues or even your boss. If this is the case, it could lead to you being less productive in the workplace.

This post briefly looks at why this is, hints and tips to manage this and how disclosing may make you a more productive worker.


Why hide it?

  • Fearing that your boss or work colleagues won’t react positively and may bully you or discriminate against you

  • You might feel that it’s none of their business

  • You’re not feeling completely clear about your sexuality yourself yet so aren’t ready to discuss it with others.

Hints and Tips

  • Hiding your sexuality can be mentally exhausting – answering a simple question like ‘what did you do at the weekend?’ becomes a stressful attempt at hiding the gender of your partner

  • Try to find out if the company has an equality and diversity policy and see if it explicitly mentions sexual orientation – take it as a positive sign if there is a policy

  • You could join an LGBT staff network, if there is one, so you don’t feel like you’re the only LGBTQ+ person in the company. Maybe chat to them before ‘coming out’ to get some support and advice

  • You’re protected by law. The Equality Act makes it illegal to fire someone on the basis of their sexuality

  • It’s your choice, don’t get pressurised to do something you’re not comfortable with.


Check out the Stonewall website to learn more about coming out and being out at work: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/.


In summary

Every person is a unique individual with numerous strengths and differences they can bring to any workplace. But, not everyone has the confidence or ability to be open about their differences with their boss or those they work with.


If you’re able to find the support and strength to come out to your boss and those around you, you will hopefully discover a brand new lease of life and become more productive, relaxed and happy. Being more open and honest with your work colleagues could lead to deeper and more meaningful work relationships and new friendships.


Remember, if your mind is occupied with hiding something about yourself, it isn’t focused on work so, your productivity levels will go down. Coming out will make you more productive and your boss happier.

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