Recognizing and celebrating our differences in the workplace isn’t just a good idea – it’s good business. That’s because being able to recognize each other’s strengths and vulnerabilities and each other’s differing perspectives is an essential part of being able to manage effectively. Here are four reasons why:
We all have blind spots.
Everybody is different. We all grew up differently, had different experiences, were educated differently, and ultimately made our way to the job that we’re in for different reasons. That means that we each are limited by our own experience, and the only way to reach beyond our own limits is to communicate and work with people who have different experiences and ways of thinking than we do.
No one wants to feel like a cog.
Yes, as a manager you can treat the people who report to you as faceless worker bees and treat them all accordingly, but that’s no way to build loyalty or trust. You don’t need to be best friends with everyone in your office, but better understanding your employees – what motivates them, what they care about, and what they have a hard time with – can help you not only better relate to your employees but also manage them more effectively with situational leadership (link).
Understanding reduces conflict.
In terms of personality types, knowing where you and your employees fall on the DiSC model can make it much easier to understand why this person might be butting heads with that one or why your advice to employee X isn’t being received. The better we can understand one another, the easier it is to see the causes of conflict and thereby avoid them, which can drastically improve workplace culture.
Understanding helps even the playing field.
When you don’t take the time to understand a person’s strengths and vulnerabilities, the human tendency is to make assumptions. We all do it. Without actual knowledge of the person or how they tick, the subconscious instinct might be to make assumptions based on race, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or any number of other factors that don’t have anything to do with how a person functions in the office. Conversely, when we make an effort to understand the people who work with and around us as individuals, it makes it much easier to recognize talent for talent’s sake and to foster the growth of the best employees, not just the people who look like us or whom we feel most comfortable around.
Learning to understand your employees is a process that takes time, patience, and cooperation. To learn more about how to assess individual strengths and vulnerabilities, give our office a call.