As I’ve already mentioned in one of my previous posts on “9 People Skills for Product Managers”, our goal in exercising “people skills” is not to make other people feel good, but to maximize the amount of trust we are building and maintaining. One of those 9 examples of key people skills for product managers that build trust, is: be authentic!

People trust what they can see. When you’re open and honest, others don’t have to guess what your motivations or intentions are, or how those intentions might translate to their actions. Keep this in mind when you interact with your clients, team, or suppliers. You inspire trust when you talk openly about your intentions, values, and goals. Know yourself inside and out, and demonstrate authenticity in everything that you do. Also, keep the lines of communication open, especially when you have bad news to share.

Now, it isn’t easy being an authentic person in today’s world, but, I’m telling you, it will pay off in the long run if you manage to stay true to yourself. There are a select few who have figured it out by doing some important things differently. Everywhere you look, there is someone trying to tell you how to think, what to believe, and where to find the answers you seek. Listening to your heart and following your own desires can feel like an uphill battle…but it’s a battle that can be won.

Life will inevitably throw challenges your way. Authentic people accept these challenges and use them to find out more about themselves, and the world they live in. Regardless of where it may lead, the authentic person stays true to their heart. We each want to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. So, how do we get there?

Maybe if we take a look at what authentic people do differently, we can figure out which areas in our lives need improvement.

1. They Say What Is Right, Not What Is Popular. 
Saying what is right might not get you the popularity vote, but authentic people aren’t too worried about that. It’s never easy to stand up for what you believe in when you are surrounded by your peers and elders; it takes courage and confidence. Yet, they remain resilient in the face of scrutiny.

2. They Prefer Deep Conversations. 
Authentic people yearn for deeper connections. They aren’t your typical “shallow conversation” partner. Instead of gossiping about the hottest buzz-worthy couple, they want to wander through the depths of your mind and soul.

3. They Go With The Flow.
Life can be unpredictable at times, and when we try to force our will, it becomes unnecessarily stressful. Understanding that there is an ebb and flow to everything, including life, makes things much easier. Things didn’t go as planned? That just leaves room for more opportunity. Which brings us to…

4. They Are Not “Yes” Friends.
There is a vast difference between supporting someone, and enabling them. Authentic people know that honesty is the best policy, and they will tell you the truth, even if it is unpleasant. They have figured out that being true to yourself and others is one of the ways to make life simpler.

5. They Don’t Take Things Personally.
When someone is rude, judgmental, or hateful, it is a reflection of themselves. Authentic people know that understanding and empathy go much further than retaliation and anger. Whatever words are spoken, they won’t take them personally.

6. They Listen To Your Emotions, Not Just Your Words.
Rather than focus on the surface, authentic people uncover what lies beneath your words. They listen to you, the real you, when you speak. Because of this, they often give the best advice you could ask for.

7. They Embrace Opportunities.
Instead of seeing closed doors, an authentic person sees a new opportunity. Promises get broken, cars break down, plans fall through- but that’s not a reason to get upset. Authentic people take these unfortunate situations and turn them into useful opportunities.

8. They Love Themselves.
The saying is true: “you must be able to love yourself before you can love anyone else.” Before any of us can be a beacon of light, or an inspiration to others, we must first be those things for ourselves. Authentic people have examined all of their flaws and faults, and have found themselves to be imperfectly perfect. Combine that with the understanding that we are all connected, and you have the recipe for universal love.

9. They Trust Their Instincts.
Authentic people have learned how to fine tune their instincts; they know when to listen to that inner-voice. We all have a sense of intuition, or “gut feelings,” but rather than ignore them, authentic people are receptive. They remember other times when they didn’t listen to their instincts, and chalk those up to “life lessons.”

10. They Genuinely Wish For Others’ Success.
It’s not an act, authentic people are truly happy to see others do well in life. They don’t have that competitive nature that most of society has. Instead of trying to be better than those around them, the authentic person strives to be a better version of themselves.

11. They Need Alone Time.
Because of their heightened emotional awareness, and compassionate understanding, authentic people can become easily drained. They need alone time to recharge and regroup their thoughts. It’s almost like a cleansing ritual- out with the old, in with the new. They don’t feel sadness during these times because they love themselves, and understand the difference between being alone, and being lonely.

12. They Respect All Aspects Of Life.
Every living thing on this planet- insects, plants, trees, animals, people- they all deserve respect. Authentic people appreciate the differences and wonders in all living things. They understand that all life has value, and one is not more important, or worth more, than another.

As I stated earlier, these aren’t easy things to do. You might find your social circle getting smaller when you start living life this way, but the ones who stick around are there because they’re ready. They’re ready to leave their old habits behind them and start living a more authentic life. It works for me, and I’m confident it will have a positive effect on your life and career too.


Let me know how being authentic works out for you in the comments below.