We people are funny! We think others are like we are. In fact, it’s one of the interesting challenges that leaders face – they think their direct reports and others around them have just as much drive, energy, enthusiasm, focus, work ethic, interest, commitment to the company, etc., as they do! It’s something I’ve spent my whole teaching career learning, which now spans 4 decades (my first job was teaching guitar at the age of 16). And I’ve just now learned it once again. I’ve had a request from a company I’m working with for a simple article that provides a quick overview of the concept of emotional intelligence to be used as pre-reading for a course we’re conducting on leading with emotional intelligence. I’ve used many articles as pre-reading in the past, however, this one had to be just the right balance to not overwhelm the participants. It had to be short and to the point and ‘prepare’ them for the training session. I had to be reminded that some people need a simple, gradual introduction.
I think most folks are like me. I think they’re just as interested in the things I’m interested in, do things the way I’d do them, and don’t need much in the way of preparation for things. Why aren’t others more like me? I just dive into things without much thought, preparation, planning. Does it get me into trouble? Absolutely. Do I need to be reminded that others are not like me? Absolutely. I’m reminded almost daily. Why can’t various members of my family do things the way I would do them? Why don’t the people I deal with accept the various ways I like to work, make decisions, process information, etc.? It is a constant source of irritation and even anger. “If only they would see things my way!” However, people are different. What can we do? We can accept the fact that people are different and help and remind others that people are different. We can learn from each other about those differences and we can compromise and adapt in light of those differences so we can work together and connect at a deeper level.
You can get a copy of the article I wrote as pre-reading for this particular group, The Science of People Skills [PDF].
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