In Leadership Competencies
Acceptance of differences

Acceptance of differences

Being an Every-Day Leader requires much introspection as well as outer focus. Unlike “one and done” goal setting, being an every-day leader requires vigilant practice. I spend a lot of time on the intricacies of being this type of engaged leader with my clients. One important trait for Every-Day leaders  is accepting differences. We find it’s such an important part of being a leader that others like to follow and work for and with. The people you lead are all different and unique and it’s up to you to set the tone in your organization. Let’s take a look!

How to View Differences in Others

First off, the acceptance of differences means that you balance tolerance (of others and things not like you) with acceptance (the allowing of what’s different to exist without disagreement). It’s no secret that we’re all different. Backgrounds, life experiences and environment paint who we are personally and at work. Just think of who you were when you started your first job out of college or moved to a different city. It’s likely you encountered situations that were out of your comfort zone. Accepting differences requires empathy and grace toward employees that behave and have different values than you. Draw on these instances to show up as the type of leader your people are seeking.

Being an every-day leader means your employees don’t question how you feel about them. They walk into work knowing you accept and honor them as they are. Feeling this sense of acceptance sets them, and in turn, your organization, up for success. After all, your team will thrive if they know they matter and are taken seriously? Be transparent in your daily practice with your team and you’ll create valuable connections. Your people will feel they can be authentically themselves and be successful to the organization. Accepting people where they are is central to being an Every-Day Leader.

Why do Differences Matter?

“A world united is better than a world divided, but a world divided is better than a world destroyed.”- Winston Churchill

We know that diversity is more than just a buzzword today. Real diversity in organizations goes beyond cultural differences. Every-Day Leaders are adept at accepting not only people from a variety of backgrounds but also those that have subtle nuances in their thinking. Think about when you first met your mate’s family or interviewed for an important role in another industry.  You probably felt out of sorts and maybe even misunderstood when you were not on your own turf. Again, situations like these can shape your approach as an Every-Day Leader. Accept differences of those on your team and you’ve taken a big step in being the type of leader others want to work for. The more diverse your team is, research shows, the more successful they are with their business results. Isn’t that something that you’d root for in your organization?

Practicing Acceptance

So how exactly do you accept differences as an Every-Day Leader? These differences can range from opinions, beliefs, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to years of job experience and behaviors. It’s important as you lead others to practice acceptance.

Here are some daily reminders to practice:

  1. Is every member of your team’s voice heard in meetings? It’s natural for extroverts to express themselves however, introverts not so much. Let them know that everyone’s voice in the room is important and engage them in the conversation.
  2. Mindful acceptance, let it be. Acknowledge your emotions about differences that may exist. Processing these feelings enables you to get to that place of acceptance. It’s normal that opinions and negativity will crop up. Don’t fight it, instead allow it to be and figure out how to move past it.
  3. Distance yourself. Be the proverbial “fly on the wall” and take an observer approach to situations. When you cultivate a broader perspective, you’ll discover that the situation is not as bad as you thought it was.
  4. Reappraise and find the good in any situation. This is all about seeing things in a different light. The sign of a good leader happens when you challenge yourself to look for and find the positives. Over time it  becomes easier for your brain to see things in a positive light.

While sometimes it’s not easy to accept differences in your business life however, you’ll find it’s what sets the Every-Day Leader apart from those that are “bosses”. Thinking in a new way takes time and attention. Reading blogs like this one and exposing yourself to alternate views means you’re on the right path. If you’re ready to start coaching towards more success in this area, reach out to me.

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