Our team were running development centres with a client organisation over these past two weeks, seeing a host of managers in operation over a number of activities. One of the managers, as nice a guy as you will find anywhere, but not necessarily a fully rounded manager, commented after a difficult task ‘You just need to treat others as you want to be treated’. It reminded me of how many times I have heard that adage from managers all over the globe – and how although it is on the right track it can be very limiting. The illustration, ‘Be the kind of leader that you would follow’ similarly has good intentions and is a large step in a positive direction, but doesn’t quite do it. Because – everybody is not like you! People like you will lap it up. People who are very different maybe incredibly underwhelmed.
As part of our ‘Personal Intelligence’ work with client organisations we help participants understand how people are universally similar and crucially how they differ. A huge block to managerial effectiveness and a limitation of those looking to influence and lead others is to assume that everybody is like they are. We believe effectiveness and influence comes through treating others as they would like to be treated – or at least in a way that adapts to their personality. Leading others means providing what challenge and support they need, in a style that works for them.
Our participant managers comment was the strong foundation he needs, however if he doesn’t take that on a step he will forever be caught up – especially as he is a really good conscientious guy, whilst others he deals with may not always display those qualities!
Is this a trap you fall into?