A different style of Santa (Swedish) and still wonderful!
Our research shows that the first question on our Courageous Counter, ‘I am different to others and I like my uniqueness’ can frequently score below 50%, and especially in ‘corporate cultures’.
Research into sales situations and interviews point to ‘difference’ being a key tactic for success. And yet we know that the vast majority of us spend most of our time trying to fit in, not stand out and be just like everyone else. It takes courage to stand out, and yet if we stand out in our authenticity and strengths, wow, people stand up and listen.
Dr Jim Doty, the founder and director of The Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine, talks about a growing amount of research suggesting that an authoritarian boss creates an anxious and stressed workforce. His view is that company boards often hire such kinds of bosses, thinking that this is what will drive performance. An approach that we would describe as conforming to an old-fashioned and out-moded view of what drives company success, a ‘doing what we’ve always done’ approach.
Doty suggests that leading in a more collaborative, inclusive way instead could pose a solution to the puzzling productivity crisis, which has seen output per hour decrease considerably in most developed countries from the US to the UK in recent years.
“When you are not in a place of threat or fear, your productivity actually increases… ”. Ultimately, he says, company leaders need to get across to staff that they’re not just a cog in a machine, but that “there’s an interest in who you are, instead of ‘we can replace you at any time if you don’t do exactly what we say'”.
“Employees who are able to bring their whole selves to work are 42% less likely to say they intend to leave their job within a year.’’ HBR 2017
Being yourself at work, not conforming and being different, is true diversity and brings inclusion as you disarm those around you.
Elisa Steele, chief executive of tech firm Jive Software, talking to the BBC recently says that “companies that don’t try to encourage staff to express themselves at work, and instead try to force them to fit into some kind of corporate clone – doing what they’re told to do without questioning – will lose out.’’
So, what makes you different?
How can you consciously maximise and amplify your difference to positively impact on your success and the success of others?
Here are some tips to help you.
- Who is the inner you that you show to your friends and family, what is this person like? Are you this person at work – especially when things get tricky?
- What two things make you different?
- What would it look like to others if you amplified these? Be conscious of dampening the natural you and conforming in meetings. Do you change when you enter the building at work? What would you be like if you didn’t?
- If someone really knew the real you, what is it they would know about you? Have you shared this with your work colleagues?
- Show people that you like them! The minute that you engage, listen, smile, show others that you see the spirit and potential and real person in them – you build their confidence, remove self-doubt and open the encouragement door for them to be themselves.
- Build belief in others. See the best in them when they can’t see it in themselves.
- When you are ‘in flow’ at work and loving it, how would you describe the energy that’s making it feel so great?
- What impact could you make by playing to your differences at work?