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Who's fooling whom?

Workers in the UK are much more likely to suppress their natural behaviour at work and take on a false personality compared to the average European worker, according to a recent study. The study reveals that adopting a ?fake? personality at interview and in the workplace can lead to stress.

Business psychologists OPP have found that two thirds of UK employees adopt a different persona at work than at home. The survey questioned 1,000 UK employees and 3,000 European employees in 6 different countries. The research reveals that workers are finding it both tiring and stressful to change personality from situation to situation, and many people admit to using the wrong personality with the wrong person at work.
The study found that one of the reasons people adapt their personality is to avoid conflict.  The researchers say that conflict suppression is common in organisations because people desire a ?happy? work place and so may avoid even small disagreements to achieve this.  However, doing this gets in the way of progress, the formation of deep relationships and leads to an atmosphere of mistrust.

Another reason why people adapt their personality is because they think that being a chameleon will help them to be more effective at work - yet the research is showing that this is stressful.  When people suppress their natural ways of being, things such as creativity, engagement and job satisfaction are compromised. The authors say that a workplace needs to combine the ?learned? behaviours with a person?s natural style in a way that enables them to perform well, and authentically, in a broader range of situations, especially under stress. 

Robert McHenry, CEO of OPP Ltd, says that the reason why these findings are important to organisations seeking to gain their competitive edge from people is that ?Unlocking human potential is about being your best self - not behaving in a certain way because someone has imposed it upon you? To read the article click here


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