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Are you a leader that brings out the best from a mix of different people?

Think about people who are different to you. Different in skill-set, values, beliefs, gender, ethnicity, family upbringing, sporting preferences, personalities, communication styles, interests etc.


Actually, we are all different, when we look at all the different aspects of ourselves. Some aspects are shared, others are not. We share more with some people, less with others. How different we feel from another person depends on how much overlap we perceive on a venn diagram between us and another person.

similar or different 

There’s always an overlap. We are all human. So we are all different and the same, where:

  • Difference can build tension and conflict but can be a source of great learning and creativity.
  • Sameness builds comfort and connection but can lead to complacency and stagnation. 


Our ability to unite a diverse team while making the most of the differences is the key to lifting team and organisational performance and growth.  How effectively we attract and leverage diverse talent, then, is a critical leadership capability in organisations.


We are not doing the real work of leadership to lift organisational performance and growth if:


When there are more differences in teams, sometimes it works well, other times it is more challenging. The work of leadership is to get the best from a mix of different people.


Great teachers do this with grace. Imagine a classroom full of children with different abilities, strengths, weaknesses, personalities, upbringing, interests and passions. Ordinary teachers get the best out of children they like or can handle. Great teachers have a knack of understanding each child, meeting them where they are and unlocking their potential in a way that works.


Great leaders enable a mix of different people to complement each other to perform and grow.

  • Who are the people you are able to bring the best out of?
  • Who are the people you struggle with?
  • What’s the difference?
  • Is it about them or is it about your leadership?
  • What’s your skill and comfort level of leading people who are different?


We need it now more than ever because our businesses are so interconnected. Building trust and collaborating effectively within organisations and with partners is commercially critical. The ability to work with difference is the evolution in leadership that will future proof organisations in the interconnected and changing business environment.


Related articles:

Unconscious bias is a business issue, not just a diversity issue

Stop focusing on diversity as a fairness issue

Power Blindness

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