Being Different is Not a Choice

“Being different gives the world color”  Nelsan Ellis 

Photo by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash

The most challenging part of leading a team is understanding the unique and creative  capabilities of every team member. The uniqueness of your team will determine the success of your team. Leaders often fall

Into the trap of “playing it safe” and gravitate to individuals who fit the norm and can be placed in a neat and comfortable box. Times they are a changing. Playing it safe will no longer suffice. Here are as few examples of why I prefer to no longer sit on the sidelines and ignore the uniqueness around me.  

People who are quiet are often overlooked. I prefer to gravitate towards the introverts who listen and absorb more than they speak. 

People who are “quirky” are misunderstood. I like quirky. Quirky works for me. Who does not need quirky to lighten up boring office meetings. 

People who have english as a second language are pigeon holed as uninformed. I prefer working with people who communicate and think in a different language. A diverse perspective makes me a better leader and person. 

People with disabilities are not as engaged because they are dealing with their own issues. I prefer to understand how their disability has made them resilient and strong. 

People who are not from here do not understand the local culture. I prefer to understand what newcomers are exploring in the city and how our city can be improved through their eyes. 

Being different is extremely precious and valuable in the workplace. The most creative people in the world are different. Lady Gaga, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs have all changed the world with their creativity, ingenuity and hard work. It is no longer “sexy” to have a diverse workforce. It is a business imperative that organizations seek out “different” in order to become profoundly creative.