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Work On Your Game Content/leadership/Seeing People As They Are: Right Tool, Right Job
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Seeing People As They Are: Right Tool, Right Job

I, like you, have certain ways about me -- the way I like to work, my preferred methods of communication. No two people, of course, do everything the same way. As I have grown and learned, the best way of dealing with the differences between all of us so-very-different humans is to accept each individual as they are, and work/exist with them from the point of that acceptance.

Sounds simple and I've-heard-that-before cliché, right? But think about your interactions with people just in the past week.

How many times did you get annoyed, angry or frustrated with someone because they do/did things differently than you like to do them? How many times did you think/say something about how someone could have or should have done/said something that would have made it easier and simpler for you? It still happens to me from time to time. The good thing is that I am working on the habit of recognizing it every time it happens and checking myself. I have to remind myself: My way is perfect for me, and only me. Every person I deal with, has their way, which is perfect for them.

The height of this understanding is where I hope to eventually get: Being able to size up the person I am dealing with from our initial interactions. Putting that person in position to do what they do best, as they do it best, without running it through the filter of what I would do or how I would do it, were I in their position. This is the way to get the most out of people, whether that be at work, in a relationship, or on a sports team.

From a leadership position, an important skill is to be able to see another person as they see themselves, and put them where they can fulfill that vision. Every see a basketball team trying to make a player into the star go-to guy with negative results, because that player clearly is more comfortable being a role player? That player may have just as much talent as the go-to guy on another team, but this view is the "he-should" view that doesn't take into account how that person sees himself.

Does this mean that a person should be rooted and nailed into position just as they currently are, and never expected to grow? No. But again, the challenge of growing for a person also must be viewed through their lens: How much do they think they can improve? How much do they actually want to improve? Set the bar for that person just high enough to make it a challenge they'll accept, but not so high that this person doesn't see themselves realistically reaching it. That's the tricky balancing act of leadership. Also remember that some people are satisfied with who and how they are, and should be left to be who they are.

I feel like I'm improving in this area as life goes on. Embracing my uniqueness, and the uniqueness in every single person I deal with. When working with people, the analogy is like looking at a set of inanimate objects: A hammer can tear a wall down completely or build a house. Fire can keep you alive by keeping you warm on a cold night, or fire can burn you to death. Water can be your only sustenance for weeks to keep you alive, or you can drown in it.

All depends on how you use what's at your disposal. Know what a tool does, what it can do, and in what position it performs best. Use it the right way and enjoy the results.

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