5 Ways to Stay True to Yourself and Not Offend Others in the Process

self.jpgby David Bohl

The business world can be a tricky place when dealing with doing what’s right–keeping your personal values and morals in check. While you have to separate your business life from your personal life, it doesn’t mean you have to turn into someone you’re not in order to be successful.

It’s also important not to offend others in the process of doing what you think is right. You have to keep you personal views and what others think balanced. Keep these five suggestions in mind and you’ll be well on your way to doing what is right for you and not ticking people off as you go.

1. Know yourself.

We’re all different, which makes the world a much more interesting place. You may have a big mouth without a filter–saying exactly how you feel about things without thinking about how it sounds or how others will take it. Maybe you make faces that come off as bad to an observer but you really don’t mean anything by it. You have to know yourself–what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. When you have this knowledge, you can do something about it so that you can still speak your mind and be yourself, but in more of an appropriate manner.

2. Express yourself.

It’s kind of like the Madonna song, you have to learn how to express yourself. If you’re supposed to be a marketing consultant and you’re attending a client meeting, but you just sit there like a timid mouse and don’t say a word, what do you think your chances are for landing this company as a new client? Zippo! If one of their ways of promoting their service to potential clients is killing their sales, find a tactful way to let them know this. It’s not by blurting out, “You’re doing it all wrong. No wonder your sales are down!” Maybe it’s something more refined like, “My other clients that have used the same type of promotion saw a rapid decline in their sales also. When we started working together and put together a comprehensive marketing plan that incorporated a combination of print, online, radio, and TV ads, their business increased by 30%.” It’s not always what you say, but how you say it. But you have to say it–don’t just sit there and say nothing.

3. Set boundaries.

Boundaries getting crossed are what usually makes you feel uncomfortable–like you’re not being true to yourself. So make sure that you set boundaries and don’t let them get crossed. For example, may be your company throws happy hour networking events all of the time. Your colleagues come to the event and treat it more like a college kegger than a business meeting–getting drunk and slurring their words as they talk to prospective clients. It’s not that you have something against drinking, but it’s the excess you have an issue with. Nobody says you have to drink to the point of getting drunk. Nobody says you have to drink at all. You can only be responsible for your own actions. If you really feel like these cocktail parties are affecting the business, then suggest an alternative way to mingle with prospects that’ll shed a better light on your company.

4. Be accountable.

It’s worth repeating, you are the only one that can control your actions. Be accountable for what you do. If you make a mistake, owe up to it. If you do something that is successful, share it with your boss and colleagues. Don’t be boastful and say it with an “I’m better than you” attitude, but be matter of fact and truthful.

5. Be fair and respectful.

Everyone is different. The way that you see something or the way you believe may be completely different from what others think. You have to be fair and respectful of these differences. Agree to disagree if necessary. Just like you want someone to respect your wishes, you have to respect others wishes as well. It goes back to that “don’t talk about politics and religion” rule because if your opinions differ then it could be war.

You can do what you feel is right without offending other people. First, you’ve got to take a good look at who you are. Then you’ve got to respect the differences between you and others. Finally, you have to find a way to tactfully and respectfully do what you think is right in a way that doesn’t hurt the people around you.

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