I have great respect for people who are themselves wherever they are. It irks me when I see someone behave one way in front of some people and an entirely different way in front of others. The only chameleons I enjoy are reptilian, not human.
This is not to say that we are to be so narrow in our social skills that we cannot relate to a variety of people in different ways and social situations. I am being myself when I choose to bring my best social graces to a formal occasion such as a wedding, and I am being myself when I kick back with friends or family or my dog informally. Doing as the Romans do while in Rome is not always a sign of betraying one’s core values. Of course, sometimes it’s just fun to be contrarian and go against the norm as I did earlier this week when I chose to go to my company president’s office dressed in a bee costume rather than the normal, proper tie. (Don’t worry. It was in my role as the community manager for our internal social network called Buzz, so it was still somewhat appropriate.)
Observing people in business settings is where I usually see the negative kinds of behaviors I have in mind here. For example, when someone acts and speaks publicly in support of an idea when the idea’s main proponent (usually a superior) is present, but then speaks against the idea and perhaps the very person they were kissing up to when absent from the leader. Not only is it hypocrisy, but it’s completely unhelpful in the process of freely discussing ideas and working to arrive at the best plans and solutions.
Outside of work, I share the same preference and trust for those consistent in living out what they claim to believe than those who say one thing and do another. I would prefer the honesty of one whose life experiences and values seem polar opposites to mine over the untrustworthiness of someone inconsistent in their words and actions.
The bottom line for me… know who you are and consistently live out leap year lesson #190 – Be yourself wherever you are.