Authentic self-expression leads to creativity and productivity
“We spend so much time at work,” says Shelby Thomas, Vice President of National Claims Operations at Argo. “It’s important to feel that you’re in a place where you can truly develop and evolve.”
“If you’re not authentic, you’re not comfortable,” says Argo’s Chief Accounting Officer, David Chan. That discomfort can have a business impact. “It starts impeding on a lot of things – not just productivity but how you interact with your colleagues and peers.”
According to David, constantly hiding a part of your identity creates a mental weight that is emotionally burdensome and prevents you from doing your best work. By creating a safe environment, managers help employees do higher quality work that positively impacts the business.
Authentic self-expression empowers underrepresented groups
It’s especially important to empower employees from underrepresented backgrounds.
As a woman, Mary Henderson, President of Argo Pro, experienced a sense of isolation in the early years of her career. “When I first started out… no one really spoke openly about their gender. Everyone had to fit into a rigid mold.” Mary knew she didn’t want to repeat that mistake when she became a leader. “It’s so important for everybody from all diverse backgrounds to know they don’t need to be a certain way to fit in.”
Shelby Thomas credits Argo’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) with addressing this issue. “I’ve invited ERGs to speak to my team so they understand the avenues that they have to express their ideas, and it’s really inspired people to tell their own story.” By hearing others from similar backgrounds authentically express themselves, employees feel empowered to do the same.
Watch the discussion on being your authentic self with David, Mary and Shelby.