What the “Whole Self” Movement Means to Marketers

whole self

In the last few years, there has been a lot of attention placed on bringing the “whole self” to the workplace as a leader, a marketer, and an employee.

Much of this discussion was kicked off with a book by consultant Mike Robbins called (of course) Bring Your Whole Self to Work.  According to Robbins, it’s “essential” to create a work environment “where people feel safe enough to bring all of who they are to work.” An entire issue of the Harvard Business Review has been devoted to the subject. In this new workplace, you don’t have to keep your head down and do your job. Instead, you “bring your whole self to work” — personality flaws, vulnerabilities, idiosyncratic mantras, and all.

Every time I hear this advice, I cringe a little as my family or origin narrative plays in my head: “My personal life is really none of your business!”

Somewhere between “get off my lawn” and sharing every thought in your head is the true balance that helps you become an authentic and effective leader.

I understand that vulnerability in the workplace must be encouraged when it dovetails with efforts to encourage corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and other workplace programs. There is strength in an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing aspects of their identity in the workplace, even when irrelevant to the specific work at hand.

But I still, I don’t think any employer or customer deserves — or really wants — all of me. I want to bring the best of me to work and leave the crabby parts at home. In a professional environment, isn’t that a better expectation?

I want to be sensitive to new workplace trends and needs, but I think the “whole self” movement is rather  overboard and my friend Keith Jennings agrees. We discuss what we believe to be a better and more productive balance in this new episode of The Marketing Companion.

It will surely make you think — and perhaps you’ll even disagree, but the discussion is worth your time! All you have to do is click the link to join in!

Click here to listen to Episode 271

Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of some of the world’s bestselling marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak at your company event or conference soon.

Follow Mark on TwitterLinkedInYouTube, and Instagram.

Illustration courtesy MidJourney


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