Giving uniqueness space to grow

Last week someone thanked me for starting our work together with a session that focused on getting to know each other’s strengths and sharing stories about what made each person tick.  They said they had never had that opportunity before, that they were used to getting straight into the functional and focusing on the priorities that needed to be achieved.  

The difference this approach made had surprised them.  It had built a sense of team much faster, had enabled some really good learnings about how to work with each other and gave clarity on the uniqueness each member brought to the team.

This story also provides a brilliant practical way of living and leading with the 4th attribute of a compassionate culture: 

UniquenessListen without judgement to see the whole unique person. It will bring out the priceless treasure in each and every one of us

No. 4 from the 7 Attributes of a Compassionate Culture

Mathew Syed in his book Rebel Thinking talks about the power of cognitive diversity. He highlights that if you want to win a 4 x 100 relay then it’s probably a good thing to focus on speed above all else. However, when what we do each day requires us to find solutions to the continual changes and challenges we face; then we need to innovate and create. We need to leverage the diversity of thought and varying perspectives that comes when we harness the power and potential of the collective.  

We are hearing a lot of people lately tell us,  “when we are all back in the office it will be better”. The idea that face to face will automatically mean we talk and connect more, that we will be working in an environment more conducive to sharing ideas than when we are all connecting from behind a screen. 

I’d like to put a provocation out there… cast your mind back two years… to when you were working in the office and all meetings were face to face.  

  • Did you always feel listened to?
  • Did you walk away from meetings knowing that everyone had had the chance to share their ideas; that as a group you truly had harnessed the power and potential of the collective?
  • Did you feel that you were clear on who to turn to in your team when you needed help because you understood who brought what strengths to the team?

If your response is “absolutely yes” to all those questions, brilliant! You have built an amazing culture and I am sure you have taken the things that served you well in a face to face working environment and are applying them to the hybrid world of today.

If you can’t say absolutely yes to these questions, then as you go through the week ahead, simply notice how often you feel truly listened to and how often you give someone else the gift of truly listening to them. 

How often are you listening to respond or listening to learn?

When we listen without judgement to see the whole unique person it brings out the priceless treasure in each and every one of us and when that happens, individuals, teams and organisations can thrive and grow. 


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