Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

The Challenges Of Being Yourself in the Workplace

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Image credit: Courtesy of Harper Collins

Do you feel like you can be yourself at work? It sounds like a simple question, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, there’s likely a lot that you don’t tell your boss or co-workers.

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Why don’t we open up more at work? Probably because we fear being judged, misunderstood or disliked. This is especially relevant for women, young people and minorities, who learn early on in their careers that being yourself at work can mean making yourself vulnerable to the consequences of stereotyping and racism.

Harper Collins
Harper Collins

Detroit Today’s Stephen Henderson talks with someone who has thought a lot about this and even has a new book on the issue of likeability in the workplace: Alicia Menendez, MSNBC anchor, host of the Latina to Latina podcast and the author of a new book called “The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed As You Are.”  According to Menendez, being your authentic self at work “can seem like a dangerous dare.”

Women tend to get feedback that goes in one of two directions—-either that they’re too strong…or told they are too warm, too friendly…and those women may be very well-liked but they’re not seen as leaders,” says Menendez in regard to the challenges of female leadership in the workplace.

On women and minorities in general, Menendez says “there are all these expectations we have based on race and ethnicity…so a black woman who is assertive will be looked at as aggressive or angry.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation. 


Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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