Dare Them to Be Different: Effectively Leading a Team That Isn’t ‘You’

Posted on September 2015 By Judy Cole
They Are Not You

​Over the years of learning to lead and manage people I have sought advice from numerous people on how to effectively motivate, lead and get the most out of people. One piece of advice that resonates and I struggle to think of a more appropriate statement for not only managing people but for dealing with people in general is: ‘They are not you!’

While it sounds obvious enough, I invite you to think of any situation where somebody has not acted in a way you expected and you felt ‘let down’ or frustrated and you were left wondering why. I hate to bring this frustration back, but really think about it… Now let me answer why!

They are not you!

Do you understand now? Really consider this… it’s obvious that people are different; we already know this but understand that you are different from that person. The way you think, act and behave differs from the next person.

Your way of thinking is different to theirs

What often makes us frustrated, angry or confused is because you would have expected the person to handle a situation in the same way you would, or react in the same way you would. That is not their fault. So what should we do?

Set expectations

If you want something done in a particular way then set this up from the start. Set a timeframe and set a certain level of quality and explain this to the person. Clearly define what your expectations are – people are not mind readers.

Invite input

Your way might not always be the right way. Ask for their advice and opinion on your expectations. You never know, you might learn something from their ‘crazy’ different perspective.

Put yourself in their shoes

Try to understand how others may think, feel or act on only the facts and information at hand. By imagining yourself in their situation you can remove your own biases, thoughts or feelings to truly assess the situation.

People are generally good… or like to think that they are

Most people do not actively go out of their way to annoy you – it’s true! Believe this and you will generally be more relaxed. People do things because they genuinely believe they are doing the right thing, however their ‘right thing’ might not always align to your version.

It is your responsibility to manage this! They are not you!