Embracing Differences

achievement employee motivation individual differences organizational strengths May 07, 2024
Jody Holland Training & Speaking | Leadership
Embracing Differences

If you have siblings, then you probably know that two or more people can be raised in the same household by the same people and still turn out to be very different from one another. Why is it then that we expect our employees to be just like us? We have this idea in our minds for what success looks like and how to get there, but we often forget that multiple paths can lead to the same destination.

When evaluating others, we must take into consideration an individual’s background and conditioning. Our past experiences and the meaning that we give them largely help shape us into the people we are today. In any industry, the people that make up the company come from many facets of life.

Some people may have pursued a formal education in the industry they work in, others may have earned a degree in a completely different field but found their way into something else, while still others may not have pursued a formal education but have worked diligently to get to where they are. The journey that an individual takes to find their career, as well as their generational values, personality traits, and overall perception of work will influence how they behave in a professional setting.

We have seen a shift from people living to work in the past to now people working to live. Employees have lives outside of work, they have hobbies, families, aspirations, and even struggles. Each of these will factor into how they approach work, what motivates them to do well, what holds them back from being successful, and how they think of themselves.

Leaders must recognize these differences in employees and accept that not everyone needs to be the same or think the same to do well. An effective leader knows how to play into their employees' individual strengths and when to pair people up to get the job done. This ensures a productive workflow and fosters a culture of collaboration. This leads to mutual respect and understanding, and it ultimately contributes to the company’s overall success.

By creating a work environment that accepts and celebrates individual differences between employees, organizations can harness the full potential of their teams. So, how can you start embracing the uniqueness of your employees?


-Meghan Slaughter

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