Isn’t Everyone Like That?

07.18.12 | Posted in Birkman Method, UnCommon Leadership

I recently did a Birkman consult. We were talking about how the output showed that this person really wants and needs affirmation from people he respects and values. In fact, the “reading” is what we call “intense,” which means it’s very important to him. When I described what it meant, he commented, “But isn’t everyone like that?”

This is why we at Human Capital Initiative are big believers in the Birkman assessment, and we use it extensively in our coaching and consulting work. What I explained after that comment is that we all have needs that, if met, will allow us to perform at our best. Our usual style of leadership and our needs shape our perception of others and the world.  It’s very easy to believe that everyone is like us. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that, but it points out how challenging it is to be an UnCommon Leader. It is so easy to make mistakes when you’re a leader by believing “isn’t everyone like that?” If it’s important to me, then why shouldn’t it be important to everyone?

Most all of us have heard of the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. With the Birkman information, we change that paradigm to the Platinum rule: do unto others as they want to have done unto them.

Here are the major points for you to consider:

  • How you see the world and your personal values color how you see others.
  • How you see someone act is not necessarily how that person wants to be treated intrinsically.
  • There is absolutely no correlation between someone’s external behavior  and his true intrinsic needs and motivators.

All of these points are important, but the last one is one of the key issues that will challenge all of us when we try to figure out how to lead others. Sometimes things just don’t add up, and you can’t figure out where they are coming from! Someone just shouted, “Exactly!”

Who and what is challenging you in your leadership role?

Onward & Upward!

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