Team Leadership - Embracing Differences

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Opposites Attract”.  And many would say opposites can also make you crazy.  Have you experienced this? 

Often, people get along best with people who are like them because they have a lot in common and they “get” each other.  But the reality of the world is that there are a lot of different people out there.  Tools like Myers Briggs and Strength Finders are valuable because they help you see different personality styles and the different strengths people have.

In the sports world, it is common for people’s different talents and strengths to be appreciated and included in unique and valuable ways to help the team be successful.  Unfortunately, in the workplace, many people have not learned this valuable lesson.  Often people compare others to themselves.  They criticize others whose differences don’t live up to their set of standards and expectations or they may envy them when they are “better”.  They get irritated by differences rather than using them to their advantage.  This can lead to resentment, jealousy, envy, antagonism, and sabotage which are not healthy in relationships or to the success of the business. Does this strike a chord with you?

A great team leader sees differences, appreciates them and embraces them.  They also encourage individuals on their team to do the same.  This is a key element in true partnership relationships that is discussed in Unshackled Leadership.  Everyone acknowledges and appreciates other people’s contributions and uses each other’s talents for the maximum benefit of the team. 

As a team leader, get to know your team members.  Provide opportunities for your team members to get to know each other.  Look for the gold in each person – what special talents and strengths do they have.  Acknowledge them. Think about the possibilities of how to use the unique strengths, talents, knowledge, styles and personalities to create an amazing team.  How they are used may vary according to what projects are assigned to the team.  Be careful of getting stuck in always having the same people do the same thing the same way.  Create a true partnership with your team.  Embrace their differences.  You will have enthusiastic, confident, optimistic and happy people who work together on behalf of a future they’ve all committed themselves to --- a successful business!