Are you among the “bold” or the “beautiful” at work?

Sud Ariarajah
3 min readAug 5, 2022
Image from Pixabay

You may recall that “The Bold and the Beautiful” is an American television soap opera that started back in the 1980’s and has been going on and on and on. I’m not sure any of my friends would ever admit having watched it but, back in the day, when I was among “The Young and the Restless” (another soap opera by W.J. Bell and L. P. Bell), I was right in front of the TV when it was on.

I found the title somewhat intriguing and it was meant to be so. After having recently come across the title again, it struck me how a parallel could be drawn with the work environment.

While my arguments may be a form of caricature or even seem far-fetched, based on my personal experience, I’m tempted to say that, at the workplace, some of us are “bold” and some of us are “beautiful”.

  • By “bold”, I mean those who won’t feel the need to go strictly by the rules, who are at ease with finding the short-cuts, who “can talk” and make things sound much better than they actually may be. They are good at persuading others and can make a good show. According to Wikipedia, “bold implies a willingness to get things done despite risks”.
  • By “beautiful”, I mean those who live by the book, want to do things right by “walking the talk”. They abide by transparency and are cautious. They can make a good case but may seem too serious.

To me, the bold often seem over confident and optimistic and the beautiful under confident and self-critical. This was well depicted in the series. Brooke was the bold one and Taylor the beautiful one.

However, this categorisation stems from a bias, i.e., categorising the good vs. the bad, the right vs. the wrong, the bold vs. the beautiful. There was a time, I was convinced it was best to be beautiful. Some of my friends thought also the same.

In the past, we sometimes found it hard to accept those who were bold, even though we secretly admired their panache. We believed there was something “wrong” in the way they were going about things.

When coming across this type of person, we noticed they could be undaunted by arguments, immune to facts and had the knack for turning things around. Their overconfidence and way of presenting things was not always in line with the actual work done and it was very surprising to us, even annoying. How could they?! How dare they?! How imprudent of them?

They seemed to be reaching out to others’ emotions and not to rational thinking. A beautiful person on the other hand would prefer arguments and facts and stick to reality without seeking to influence others’ emotions.

Now, several years down the line, I realise that while we may be bold or beautiful, a bit of the other can bring us much further along in our career. Also, diversity proves to be a necessity. Opposites are part of the equation. We are just different fish navigating in the same sea.

I therefore now would say that, if you consider yourself bold: bring some beautiful into your way of interacting with others, i.e., try to embrace facts and be more authentic. Reasoning and logic can also make a good show.

If you consider yourself beautiful: try to be slightly bolder when interacting with others, i.e., try to reach out to others’ emotions, be more outgoing and less self-righteous. Being more daring and fun can definitely make a difference.

Key take-aways:

  • Being bold or beautiful at work is good but bringing a bit of the other side will take you much further along in your career.
  • Observe the way you interact with your peers and your hierarchy and how those who are successful are interacting. Try to integrate progressively some of those elements into your work life.