Stop Filtering

By Todd Dewett, Andersen Alumnus, author and speaker

We spend so much time at work, yet the relationships are often quite fake. We’ve been told that at work we are to be professional, not personal. That’s partially good advice. The goal is not to create traditional friend relationships. However, we’re not supposed to be simplistically “professional” either. Too often that translates into relationships that are heavily filtered. They are distant, cold, transactional – and fake.

Somewhere between personal and professional is a sweet spot. It is a place where we are professionals first, but also a little personal and human. That’s where magic happens. It’s where we see increased candor that leads to trust and rapport. In a team setting, these are key traits that support a feeling of commitment, a desire to growth, and an interest in innovation.

Thanks to our overreliance on professionalism, we problematically filter everything. We filter what we think. We filter what we say. We filter how we look. We filter how we behave. This can be viewed as a form of social intelligence. You see reasonable expectations around you and attempt to meet them, but… you often end up filtering the real you out of the picture. Plus, all that filtering is exhausting.

Authenticity is the superior choice. It’s a form of honesty. It’s about how you express yourself and interact with your environment. It includes being a bit more candid, personal, and vulnerable. That makes you real. It makes you human. As it turns out, humans crave honest connections with other humans, yet we resist this need every day.

I’ll admit that getting real is not risk free. When you speak up, express yourself, and embrace authenticity, not everyone will like it. That is acceptable. Over time, on average, others will support a more authentic you. Not only do you seem more honest, but your authenticity also validates them, since they wish to be a little more real too.

Start now. Begin small to reduce the risk. Speak up for once when you usually bite your tongue. Wear those crazy shoes. Share a story about one of your most difficult learning moments. Ask someone a personal question and show interest in them beyond their role.

Be authentic. Be candid, personal, and vulnerable – and interested in these things from others. Do it for you. Do it for the team. Authenticity is free, freeing, and powerful – so stop filtering.

Dr. Todd Dewett is one of the world’s most watched leadership personalities: a thought leader, an authenticity expert, best-selling author, top global instructor at LinkedIn Learning, a TEDx speaker, and an Inc. Magazine Top 100 leadership speaker. He has been quoted in the New York Times, TIME, Businessweek, Forbes, and many other outlets. After beginning his career with Andersen Consulting and Ernst & Young he completed his PhD in Organizational Behavior at Texas A&M University and enjoyed a career as an award-winning professor. Todd has delivered over 1,000 speeches to audiences at Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Pepsi, Boeing, General Electric, IBM, Kraft Heinz, Caterpillar, and hundreds more. His educational library at LinkedIn Learning has been enjoyed by over 30,000,000 professionals in more than one hundred countries in eight languages. Visit his home online at or connect with Todd on LinkedIn. He can be reached at