Developing a Corporate Persona


The major transition from school to work includes developing a “corporate persona.” A corporate or work persona is defined as the personality one projects in public, oftentimes specifically tailored to particular settings. One can have many different versions of him or herself, acting like a chameleon so-to-speak, and adjust to surroundings to adapt successfully. However, we live in an entirely different animal kingdom, where your survival skills depend on your attitudes and professionalism.

personality

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At the same time, many of my millennial peers have expressed a distaste for the notion of corporate personas.

Growing up with the mantra, “Always be yourself,” has followed us into the adult worlds. I wholeheartedly agree that one should never sacrifice his or her own identity or values, but I do believe that is for an individual’s own benefit to showcase certain traits in appropriate settings.

While a chameleon can change the color of its exterior to adapt, it ultimately remains true to itself as a reptile. In the corporate jungle, it is helpful to transition to the suit and tie when we clock in, even if we would never want to wear those looks off the clock.

According to Forbes magazine, there are seven behavioral factors that can affect one’s own corporate persona: purpose, risk-taking, values, work environment, organizational support, professional development, and rewards and recognition. Each individual values these various aspects differently, which thus affects their interactions with their co-workers and work environment.

Identifying key motivators and behaviors unique to each person can significantly support career and leadership development. In addition, knowing your attitudes and preferences can help you find the perfect niche in your job search. Understanding what types of atmospheres suit your work personality best can expedite the process of finding a workplace that feels right. Taking a personality test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Work Personality Index and other psychometric evaluations can shed helpful light on yourself and your needs. Take some time to reflect on your home and work personalities, and how you may best seamlessly function between both.

While it may feel difficult leaving your home, party, or friend personality at your organization’s door, it’s essential to remember that there is a difference between sacrificing and adjusting yourself. It is critical that you are not leaving the workday feeling drained and depressed by your behaviors in the work environment. Your happiness is ultimately most important, but we must understand that our career success may contribute to our home comfortability as well.

Overall, developing a corporate persona will likely be worth it for you in the long run.

Claire Johnson

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3 Responses to Developing a Corporate Persona

  1. pdxsx says:

    We all wear masks, and you make an excellent point about developing a corporate persona, Claire. Well done; a very thoughtful post about an often overlooked and underutilized concept.

  2. Megan Moran says:

    This is a very well thought-out post, Claire! I hate to make this assumption, but as millennials, I think we think it’s not necessary to have a corporate persona because we want to be friends with everyone we work with. However, it is super important to have a more professional persona around your workplace and to check yourself at the door. This way you are more respected and you aren’t mistaken for just some, “20-something year old who only likes to drink for fun.” All around, awesome advice!

  3. chrisouverson says:

    Claire, I love the post. I really like how you connected the comparison between a corporate persona and how a chameleon adapts to their surroundings. I think this is a great analogy and useful too. Another aspect I think is important with a corporate persona, is how consistent your work will become if you approach each co-worker/assignment with the same positive attitude.

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