BEING DIFFERENT WORKS
As humans, we may all have experienced people with traits and characters we have found to be distasteful. We have also been confronted by others in different spaces of our lives and work where our intrinsic and extrinsic may have raised questions. Albeit they are seen as shortcomings, these oddities have the potential to have powerful positive impact in our organizations and in our places of influence. When developed through self-awareness, people can understand what others desire within themselves to engage people with influence and win business through great relationships.
In the Business Insider, (2011) a discussion on this expatiates on this matter. George Burt, the writer elucidates unconventional thinking as looking at the world through an inquisitive, investigative lens, like you did as a child. It is a perspective that should not be limited just to your work, but permeate your general outlook on life. After all, some of the greatest inspirations and most profound unconventional ideas will come to you in moments and situations completely removed from your business. The whole world is your reservoir for unconventional ideas.
Recognizing these quirks in ourselves may limit us to certain job types but we may have a critical number of people to love what we do. There is potential in everyone, but it is sometimes dispiriting to note that many of these peculiarities are completely shamed. Instead of trying to change people into what you think they should be or rewarding certain specific traits, such as out-going personalities, when it comes to leadership, we must remember that every space needs a variation of identities. No trait must be discriminated against as every spectrum can tap into the strengths of every trait. There is no successful company that does not have people from both ends of the spectrum.
Society today is inclined to certain temperaments and personal characteristics. This has skewed the factors with regards to preference of the class of people that can be employed into any leadership and business space. For instance, according to Adam Grant’s research at Wharton, studies show that 96 percent of leaders and managers report being extroverted. In a poll, 65 percent of senior executives said it was a liability for leaders to be introverted and only 6 percent saw introversion as an advantage. In other cases, extremely extroverted people are seen as noisy. A 2006 survey by the Harvard Business Review revealed that being an introvert was viewed as a barrier to leadership by 65 percent of senior corporate executives polled. And, in the same vein, 2017 Sutton Trust survey indicated that extroverts are 25 percent more likely to have higher-earning jobs. How can their voices be used to make an impact?
In every situation, the will, passion and the environment matter as much as technical skills. It is always essential to create the needed environment to make the best of every trait. With leadership, one must discover the moment to lead and the art of being a leader. There is no absolute solution, although perseverance, adaptation, discipline and resilience play a part in learning how to achieve success. Inasmuch as leadership has to do with demeanor, it has a lot to do with service as well. Even leaders with innate ideal traits have had to go through months to years of training to perfect their skill. It goes without saying then, that, people seen as outliers and misfits can be polished to make a positive impact.
So what factors truly influence the making of a successful person in leadership? After analyzing all of their data, the researchers behind the CEO Genome project found that roughly half of the candidates earning an overall ‘A’ rating in their database, when evaluated for a CEO job, had distinguished themselves in more than one of four management traits. The four were: reaching out to stakeholders; being highly adaptable to change; being reliable and predictable rather than showing exceptional, and perhaps not repeatable, performance; and making fast decisions with conviction, if not necessarily perfect ones. It was not about demeanor or charisma or any characteristic critics have convinced us will break us if we do not fall in line. Now that we know we can make our idiosyncrasies work to our advantage, how do we do this?
- Believe In You
A lot of people will try to decode you in an attempt to understand who you are. Others will shut you down as soon as they experience the “non-conventional” side to you. What you must keep at the top of your mind is to believe in yourself no matter what. The day you give up on yourself simply because you are different, everyone else will have a strong reason to side-line you and keep you out of important conversations. The truth is, we are all different. For some, the difference is not so glaring but for others, the difference is what people may term as alarming. It is up to you to stand up tall and live to your best, not necessarily to prove to anyone that you are not that difference. But to show that your being different is what makes the difference with everything that you do.
The journey begins with self-awareness and securing clarity of thought, personality, emotions, strengths, weakness and vision. To turn around the idiosyncrasies that work against you, it is pertinent to pay attention to the triggers of negativity inside you and to remain in constant communication with yourself as well as those who give feedback that builds you up. Self-awareness also gives one an unapologetic claim to be who you are. Shutting out external noise and social stigma attached to the traits that have been tagged problematic will go a long way to keep your mindset in a positive dimension.
- Weaknesses to Will:
Inside every weakness is an inherent strength. Whenever we engage people, we must identify the notable words that are used to describe our weaknesses. Whenever these are explicitly mentioned it is a charge for us to reassess what makes us repeatedly take those actions and where we can evolve them into the real strength that it is. Find the weakness and make it work. Sometimes you would feel as though you were not living up to your standards, meeting your obligations, or fulfilling your duties or your destiny. The effort required to work out your weakness inspires a higher sense of motivation than usual because personal identity is engaged, followed by action.
- Trust Others To Help:
Although we may think we are well, able and capable of handling ourselves as humans, it is occasionally challenging for us to transform our weaknesses into strengths. Whenever we feel short in our capabilities to manage ourselves, we can seek for help. Coaches such as myself and other recognized and equally qualified persons are good options as professional coaches to guide you along the path of improving on your areas of weakness.
There are a few remarkable leaders and entrepreneurs that have broken boundaries and made idiosyncrasies work. Bill Gates who was once asked how to succeed in a predominantly extroverted world said, “Well, I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area. Then, if you come up with something, if you want to hire people, get them excited, build a company around that idea, you better learn what extroverts do, you better hire some extroverts (like Steve Ballmer I would claim as an extrovert) and tap into both sets of skills in order to have a company that thrives both in deep thinking and building teams and going out into the world to sell those ideas.”
Mark Zuckerberg, who has also been known to be introverted and reserved, traits that would limit one to a private and restrained position in business has been unbelievably successful in founding and being the CEO of the social network site, Facebook. His invention has broken many rules and continues to do so; however, his heightened expressiveness can be appreciated in the evidence of the magic he produces when it comes to technology.
Lisa Abeyta’s perspective is that,” the stories of unconventional, difficult people rising to success offer hope that our own unconventionality won’t limit our potential for success. And when we fail to fulfill expectations, we find solace in others who were misunderstood and unfairly judged for being different.” We point out the educator who told Albert Einstein’s parents their son was too ignorant to learn, and we marvel at the teacher who said David Bowie needed to learn that music would never make him a livable wage.
Our idiosyncrasies can work to our advantage if we are willing to take the time and pain necessary to transform them into strengths. Step out of your box, get out of your head. Whatever you have been told cannot work for you can work for you if you decide to take it, nurture it and make the most of it by being adaptive to your environment. Making adjustments does not mean you are changing who you are. Making adjustments simply means you are aware of the situation you have found space to grow and you are taking strides in the direction of growth. In the words of Tila Tequila, I remind you that “I think every person has their own identity and beauty. Everyone being different is what is really beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring.” If you are able to work your weaknesses to your advantage, you will be more memorable. So, work your idiosyncrasies and own it! Ready for the transformation?
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on email@example.com and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.