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Your Best Asset | Diversity, Equality, & Uniqueness

By Edited Mar 29, 2014 4 4

Your best asset is you and others NOT like you

White and Blue Peacock
Credit: ralph and jenny on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Managing others?

Forget familiarity

If you've never managed a group of people, it can be a bit intimidating at first. You might believe that (most times) your team should reach unanimous decisions.
 
Wrong.
 
If everyone in your group is nodding and agreeing with everything presented - it's not a good sign.
 
Great leaders possess humility[1] - they recognize people who can do things better than themselves. In our society, some people embrace these talented folks and some people abuse them. Of course, some people don't care or even notice them.
 
It makes no sense to abuse people more gifted than ourselves - just think about this deeply for a moment. It seems that this was recognized long ago by Don Marquis.
 
"The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race." ~ Don Marquis (1878 - 1937) was a poet, artist, newspaper columnist, humorist, playwright and author.
 
So, I hope to inspire you, to challenge some preconceived ideas about what's best, and to remove any doubts you have about your team. And this applies to any group (even family).

When someone new comes along

White Peacock
Credit: VinothChandar on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Some may reject him or her

Show Off
Credit: chedder on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Why do people make snap judgements?

Our children are probably the wisest among us

When you watch young kids playing, they have a common goal: to have fun. I remember playing hide 'n seek every night after dinner with kids of different ages, backgrounds, religions, culture, and so on.

We didn't care about who's parents made the most money, who had the best grades, or what anyone looked like. It didn't matter that boys and girls of different ages were playing either. The deal was: get everyone together, figure out who would be it, and hide.

Mission accomplished - we had fun.

So what happened to many of us adults?

Why do some people feel the need to control others?

According to Daniel A. Bochner, Ph.D., the need to seek power or control over others appears to stem from feeling powerless. In his article, The Power and Control Addiction,[2] he identifies three patterns in childhood:

1) Being dominated in childhood and thereby concluding that controlling others is the right (or only) way to overcome this feeling.

2) Having an "impossible-to-please" parent - which can lead to perfectionism. Having such high (and unattainable) personal standards can cause some people to expect the same unrealistically high standards in those around them.

3) Someone born with a more egocentric personality who derives pleasure and self-esteem from having others "give in" to their wishes.

Notably, these patterns can be found singly or may overlap in people who are affected.

Managers need to lead in a different way today, to mentor rather than control others.[3]

The Emotional Toolbox: A Manual for Mental Health

by Daniel A. Bochner

The Emotional Toolbox: A Manual for Mental Health
Amazon Price: $23.99 $18.41 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2014)
What impressed me about Dr. Bochner's book is how it addresses the most common emotional stumbling blocks and provides doable ways to overcome them. This isn't an in-depth manual for diagnosis and treating mental illness, but rather a guide to keeping you from getting stuck in negative patterns of thinking. If you manage others (or parent), Dr. Bochner's book will help you deal with the most common ups and downs.

The worst outcome is when segregation occurs

based on race, gender, religion, title, income or simply someone unique (or different) in some way.

Blue peacock and white peahen at the Mysore zoo
Credit: ToastyKen on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Let the men make the decisions?

Results of a 2010 study led by Anita Woolley, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, found that pooling a bunch of highly intelligent men does not add up to a more intelligent group.

Perhaps surprising to some, the research indicated that group intelligence is linked to social skills and the proportion of women within the group.

Professor Woolley, an organizational psychologist, remarked: "The effect was linear, meaning the more women, the better."[4]

Sometimes those who appear to be "in charge"

attempt to have others shun the unique person or idea

White Peacock, St. Augustine, Florida
Credit: "Caveman Chuck" Coker on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivs 2.0 Generic

Some fear this and start to "follow-the-leader"

They emulate these types (and adult bullying occurs).

Peacock (2008)
Credit: kvn.jns on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

But they're the experts

Groups where only a few people dominated the team were "less intelligent" than those in which people had equal say. Indeed, the silent type in the group may be the smartest person in the room.[4]

Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us

And How to Know When Not to Trust Them by David H. Freedman

Wrong: Why experts* keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them *Scientists, finance wizards, doctors, relationship gurus, celebrity CEOs, ... consultants, health officials and more
Amazon Price: $25.99 $3.58 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2014)
I purchased this book a couple of years ago (cost $31.99 in Canada). David Freedman helps you determine who to trust based on some key characteristics. Often personal bias and emotions can (and do) affect our critical business relationships and decisions. Collaboration is necessary with others and outside expert opinions are sometimes required. This is a well-written, honest, and down-to-earth book which I feel is invaluable to those in groups or leading groups.

But we are a loyal bunch, we like familiarity

Peacock and Peahen
Credit: Hasitha Tudugalle on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

After a while, similarity becomes boring

Even in the nicest surroundings we can get "stuck"

Peafowls
Credit: sakeeb on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Insanity is repeating the same mistakes

and expecting different results.

Note: This quote and variants including "The definition of insanity . . ." or "One definition of insanity . . ." have been attributed to Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, Confucius, and an old Chinese proverb, but Narcotics Anonymous is its first known appearance in print.[5][6]

Some leaders recognize the need for uniqueness

I'm too sexy for my feathers!
Credit: jinterwas on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Text added by me using Pixlr.com.

We are too loyal sometimes

Throughout history, thousands of people have been known to follow the advice of those who have been around a long time and who are most vocal. So highly skilled at manipulation are these self-appointed leaders that even employers don't question their motives.

Stealing from the cookie jar
Credit: Bryan Gosline on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic | Text added by me using Pixlr.com.

An internal problem? It's worth checking out.

A survey of 5,428 companies in 40 countries revealed that 43% reported significant fraud, with the average company loss over a two-year period being USD $2,420,700 (PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2008). 
 
The conclusions drawn are that employees are the best source of information to combat fraud. Notably, this was more effective than all of the management-controlled methods combined.[7]
 
Problem is: how do we get leaders to listen to and protect the whistle blowers?
 
This is yet another reason why maintaining equality within a group is so important. Once workplace bullies are given power in a group, plenty of things can go wrong. The underlying reasons can be fraud, feelings of powerlessness, or more serious psychological issues.

With luck, the white peacock comes back.

Many don't.

Isola Bella
Credit: vince42 on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

About 64% of the best talent leaves

The WBI (Workplace Bullying Institute) studies[8] along with Zogby International (involving thousands of participants) revealed 64% of those targeted by a workplace bully end up losing their job.

Bullies cause those they target to start all over again. Sadly, the target ends up losing in most cases and the bully is given even more power to continue.

Some brilliant leaders "get it" (many ignore the early signs)

In The Globe and Mail, I read an interesting article by Wallace Imment (in 2012) titled For some, ethics are a moving target.[9]

Dr. Nicole Ruedy, a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking, University of Washington, reported: "41% of cheaters showed statistically significant boosts in positive feelings compared with the non-cheaters. Something being coined as the cheater's high."[10]

Sock-Puppet
Credit: zabethanne on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

"People tend to make rules for others

and exceptions for themselves." ~ Anonymous

 

Perhaps you are a totally different creature

with some white and colored peacock in you - fabulous!

View point out of control
Credit: 7 july :-) on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

GREAT, you are exactly what the world needs

Where have you been?

Just think, no one else is exactly like you in the world. And thank goodness.

Last piece of the puzzle
Credit: zappowbang on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

"The great pleasure in life is doing

what people say you cannot do."

~ Walter Bagehot (1826 - 1877) was a British businessman, essayist, social Darwinist and journalist who wrote extensively about literature, government, and many economic affairs.

Once you embrace your own uniqueness, you become able to appreciate and respect those around you. You'll benefit as a group when everyone is treated equally and listened to. The most successful teams are comprised of both sexes, from diverse backgrounds, who are given equal say (and pay).

Don't know about you, but I feel like rounding up some kids and playing hide 'n seek.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

by Susan Jeffers

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
Amazon Price: $15.00 $6.82 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2014)
We all have fear-based behavior - sometimes it's our own self-talk that is the harshest. Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., is compassionate, easy-to-understand and motivating. This audiobook is a simple way to hear Dr. Jeffers encouraging words (on the way to work before a big meeting, for example). Kindle, hardcover, and paperback editions are also available.
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Comments

Mar 27, 2014 5:46pm
slimjim270
@ RoseWrites -

I agree it can be difficult managing a diverse group, especially when income (money) is involved.

I found the best direction is to be fair and consistent. It provides stability, promotes mutual respect, and most folks appreciate the approach.

I once met Mike Dukakis when he ran for President. He had a great line "If two people always agree - only one person is thinking". How true.

I don't look for "yes people" in a group. I do ask, however, that everyone show a level of respect during discussions. Fruitful debate is good. Arguing and insulting is not.

-Jim
Mar 27, 2014 8:42pm
RoseWrites
Dear Jim,

Well put. Respect for others and their opinions is so important to maintain in any group.

And Mike Dukakis's quote reminds me of John Wooden's quote: "Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you."

Thank you so much for dropping by and contributing to my article.

Take good care,
Rose
Apr 26, 2014 2:00am
Faye
Amen to this. Bullying is one of the least productive behaviors out there - it seems born from fear but then becomes self-rewarding and self-serving.

It also begs the question - does one bully the bullies in order to address the situation? At what point does addressing the bully become a threat to the individuality of said bully? And how does addressing this issue take place concretely in a fair way to all parties?
Apr 26, 2014 9:04am
RoseWrites
Dear Faye,

What often happens is two people get locked into a "she-said vs. she-said" (or other variations "he-said, she-said," etc.) situation and management decides to punish both (or is swayed by the majority). Thing is, bullies almost never act alone - they recruit others.

A hallmark of bullying is when (often a newer or more promising employee) starts to assert his or her rights. Employers need to "forget loyalty" or "favoritism" (bullies are highly skilled in manipulating others - even, and especially, upper management).

Bullies become a threat (not only to those they target) but to the entire organization - a whopping 64% of those targeted by a bully end up losing their jobs (or leaving their jobs). At the core of a bully is what the WBI believes to be an individual who has "not fully matured emotionally."

I'm not sure I can answer your second question fully - but when days off are filled with dread, sleepless nights, and an inability to "let work go" at the end of the day are observed in a loved one . . it's a pretty sure sign of workplace bullying.

Also, the target of bullying tends to be more highly skilled (or more qualified) at their job than the bully. (Although, classically, the bully has been at the workplace longer - and uses "seniority" as their "excuse").

How to address bullying in a fair way to all parties take a highly skilled upper management team - often the CEO of a company or head of an organization should be called in. Impartiality is paramount - quite often the loyalty factor (and pardon the term, ass-kissing) causes immediate supervisors to "side with the bully" - especially when other long-standing employees (who are too scared to be targeted themselves) appear to support the bully. It's a huge problem (and every single one of us has witnessed this behavior, I believe).

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, I hope I've helped answer your questions. A valuable resource is the WBI (Workplace Bullying Institute) as well.
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Bibliography

  1. Thomas L. Friedman "How to Get a Job at Google." NYTimes.com. 22/02/2014. 13/03/2014 <Web >
  2. Daniel A. Bochner, Ph.D. "The Power and Control Addiction." drbochner.com. 13/03/2014 <Web >
  3. Jim Fisher and Rose Patten "‘Command and control’ leadership doesn’t cut it any more | Report on Business." theglobeandmail.com. 21/08/2013. 13/03/2014 <Web >
  4. Ingrid Peritz and Adrian Morrow "If you want collective smarts, include women in your group." theglobeandmail.com. 30/09/2010. 13/03/2014 <Web >
  5. Narcotics Anonymous. Nashville, TN: World Service Office, 1981.
  6. "Narcotics Anonymous." en.wikiquote.org. 02/25/2013. 13/03/2014 <Web >
  7. "Employees Are Best Source Of Information To Combat Fraud." fairwhistleblower.ca. 14/03/2014 <Web >
  8. "Results of the 2010 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey." workplacebullying.org. 14/03/2014 <Web >
  9. "Results of the 2010 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey." workplacebullying.org. 14/03/2014 <Web >
  10. Wallace Immen "For some, ethics are a moving target | Report on Business." theglobeandmail.com. 19/07/2012. 14/03/2014 <Web >
  11. The Daily Telegraph "Dishonesty leads to a 'cheater's high'." TimesLive.co.za. 10/09/2013. 14/03/2014 <Web >

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