This week, Dr. Rick Steele’s “From the Associate Dean’s Desk” entry on the SPS blog, SignPosts, is entitled, “Authenticity vs. Professionalism.”

“Persons who achieve noteworthy success in the helping professions – such as clergy, teachers and therapists – must balance personal authenticity with scrupulous professionalism. [….] One can have a considerable measure of personal authenticity without being a ‘professional’ person, or feeling beholden to the standards of any profession. On the other hand, one might display, or at least simulate, a highly professional demeanor, without ever quite attaining the self-assurance and naturalness of manner displayed by those who internalize and ‘live into’ the standards of their craft. One might ‘do the work’ reasonably well, but be stiff, awkward, unduly self-conscious and cool to the point of being cold, or, at the other extreme, effusively friendly to the point of smarminess or pathetic over-eagerness.”

It is easier said than done to be someone who balances both authenticity and professionalism. Check out this post by Dr. Steele as he shares his experiences as a pastor, when his professionalism outweighed his authenticity, and vice versa:

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