Leadership and People – Same, Same But Different


Whether it be in life, sport or business, I think recognising and appreciating that we are all different can give you an advantage over those that don’t.

I’m an avid people watcher; I’m fascinated by the way in which we are all different. I love sitting in a cafe or bar in a different country (as I’m usually on my own) and just watching people. What are they doing there? What are they thinking? Are they on a first or third date? What is their relationship? Married, business, selling to a client? What are they talking about?
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I used to describe coaching senior football clubs as “leading 50 blokes who all need to be treated by the same yet all differently”. This is no different to business. Different people have different drivers, different tolerances, different personalities, etc, etc.

Sounds logical doesn’t it? Why then do we get upset when it appears some people seem to treated differently to others?
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That’s more of a rhetorical question. I do not know the answer but I am sure we can all have our opinions. My opinion is simply that we are all different which is why some get treated differently and why most get upset at this. Confusing?

I believe the answer to managing this from both sides is with the leader. In the case of a football club, the coach must give as much time to players ranked 25-40 as they do to the handful of top players. It is just that the time is/should be spent differently.

The key is transparency. To make a general statement like “anyone who doesn’t train won’t be playing this week” is pretty stupid. Let’s get serious here.

Same in business. Should a leader spruik a culture, not actually live it themselves or worse, allow a few to not live it and expect all others to live it?
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I love the quote “the culture of any organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour the leader is willing to tolerate” (Gruenter and Whitaker).

Worse still, what about when it appears the leader(s) are more content to keep a few happy at the expense of many others?

It comes back to transparency and the recognition (or lack thereof) that we are all different, think differently and act differently. It is ok to treat everyone the same but different.


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