Everyone is the Same, Everyone is Different (pages 118-123)
Part One: Leadership Strategies, 2. Core Tenets, I. Everyone is the Same, Everyone is Different, (pages 118-123)
I. Everyone is the Same, Everyone is Different
The understanding of the dichotomy of everyone is the same, and everyone is different is an essential skill for leadership. Everyone is the same refers to the typical types of people you find in any organization. There are leaders and loners. There are timid and bold personalities. There are those who are consumed with winning and those who aren’t concerned about winning. “These characters are everywhere, people are the same.” The second part of the dichotomy, everyone is different, makes leadership that much more challenging. As the leader, you must understand how to use different communication techniques depending upon the recipient. You must come to know what drives your subordinates. “You must do all of this while maintaining a consistent message, an equitable distribution of your attention among your troops.” A good leader can be compared to a fine woodworker. Not only does the woodworker have to have a comprehensive understanding of the tools to apply, but they must also know the characteristics of the types of various types of wood they will use. To make matters even more challenging, even the same types of wood will vary with knots, splits, and twists. Just as wood has similar characteristics, but each piece is unique, everyone is the same, and everyone is different. Within the context of leadership, the tools that work with one group might not work with another. “The success in the past certainly indicates the probability of success in the future, it does not guarantee it.” Too often, a weak leader will continue to implement the same technique even though they are not getting the results they are looking for. They will just implement it harder and blame the team for a poor outcome. “The good leader will adjust ant manner in which they are utilizing the tool or will try a completely different one.” Often, the leader needs to institute the opposite approach when they are not getting positive results. For example, the leader will provide specific instructions to their team to make progress. When progress is not made, they will provide even more specific instructions. This can lead to the team not taking initiative and waiting on the leader for direction. However, the leader could have given provided overarching guidance allowed the team to develop the process. This leads to ownership from the team and develops initiative among its members. “Different people in similar situations who have the same symptoms can require opposite treatment.” This is just one example of why leadership is an art.
I feel that this is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership, not only having a wide variety of leadership techniques but knowing when and where to implement them. Whereas leadership skills can be learned, emotional intelligence is more innate. Herein lies the challenge. The leader can develop and enrich their skills in a wide variety of ways, reading, mentor, seminars, etc. However, how can the leader develop their emotional intelligence? Is emotional intelligence a learned behavior? The research shows that emotional intelligence improves with age which makes sense. As we get older, we experience a wider range of people and learn to successfully interact with them. Additionally, some claim the skills can be learned. However, if a leader severely lacks in emotional intelligence, do they have the ability to understand this shortcoming? I would argue they do not and this is why we have leaders who have admirable skills but are detached from those that they lead.