When people at a networking event ask me about my career, I often say that I teach people how to value others. Many are surprised at this remark and almost every time they reply, “Well, does it work?” Oddly enough, this type of work seems to be in great demand. What has happened to our society, that we have forgotten how to value people who are different from us? Did we ever really know?
Gallup has defined 5 fundamental laws when it comes to teaching a StrengthsFinder session. These laws benefit teams, families, and any group with two or more people involved. I also feel these fundamentals would go a long way, if applied, to teach us all how to be better citizens and social media users.
- You are not well-rounded. Now, this concept might shock many of you to learn that you are not the smartest, most talented, or right all of the time. We all were created with special talents that make us unique, different, original, and often, one-sided. This is all OK. You are good at some things and I am good at some things, but this leads us to our next point.
- People need each other. If you are good at some things and I am good at some things, then we don’t have to be good at the SAME thing. We can hire people who are different and get the job done WELL rather than average by doing it ourselves. Sameness, then, is not an advantage but a disadvantage.
- Differences are advantages. This is where things tend to get tricky. Sameness is valued now-a-days and when we see “different” we see odd, or wrong, or confused, or despised. We seem to have a hard time finding anything positive or kind to say. We have settled into the rut that SAMENESS is good and DIFFERENT is bad. But if we are all unique, then different isn’t bad, it’s NORMAL.
- Lead with a positive intent. Why is it so hard to speak well of others, whether to their face or just in a reply to a comment on Facebook? How can we begin to speak in a positive way without taking offense to a person, idea, or a thought when it’s simply different from what we think, feel, or believe? Believe it or not, speaking in a positive manner causes us to feel better about ourselves and about others. It lowers our blood pressure and can extend our life.
- Talents are neutral. We are all gifted in some area. One person’s ability to speak is not better than another’s ability to write. The fact that others can cook well isn’t more important than someone who draws well. They are neutral but all equally important to our society. It makes us well-rounded as a society, team, family, and church to have people with all talents in many colors, shapes, and forms present. It makes us rich in thought.
So the next time you meet someone vastly different from you, try being curious instead of cautious. Ask questions to learn from another’s perspective. Try to remember Gallup’s fundamental rules. You just might walk away and realize that EVERYONE HAS VALUE.