What do we mean by authenticity and why is it relevant to the world of work? Most people agree that authenticity is a good thing, just like honesty, so why then is there so little emphasis on the importance of authenticity in the workplace? There is perhaps an “authenticity paradox” in which organisations wish to prescribe behaviour (and sometimes attitudes) that are seen as “good” (good for efficiency, good for profits, good for customer care) but in doing so they create interactions between workers and clients which are lifeless, disengaged and routine. Authentic engagement is often viewed as a good thing but it cannot be prescribed or monitored as easily as conventional work goals. Authenticity (and the spontaneity that it requires) is therefore anxiety provoking and disconcerting. There is the anxiety of not knowing where an authentic conversation might lead and the fear of making mistakes. Paradoxically, it is when things are most difficult (e.g. when someone wishes to make a complaint) that an authentic, non-scripted dialogue is likely to be experienced as genuinely helpful by clients.