Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I turn 40 this year, so I think that qualifies me to use the phrase, “When I was young.”

When I was young, you could only buy three flavours of ice-cream, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.  If you were feeling adventurous, you could buy all three in one tub called Neapolitan.

When I was young, there were no mobile phones (yes that’s right, there was a time), so everyone had land-lines that all sounded the same when they rang.

How things have changed, for the better in my opinion.

Now, I go to buy ice-cream and am confounded by the choices on offer.  Every possible combination of flavours are on offer, some even claiming to be low in fat.  Whatever your preference, there’s something for everyone.

Now, we all have our own personal mobile phone with a personal ring-tone that reflects our personality.

Whether it’s ice-cream, ring-tones, coffee, hand bags, tattoos or hair-cuts, we want to be able to display our individuality. 

Why is it then that so many leaders try to treat everyone the same?

Your people are crying out to be treated as individuals.  They want to reflect their talents and personalities in their work. 

They don’t want to be treated the same because they know that they’re not the same.

Of course, treating people differently requires a new way of thinking.  It requires creativity and intuition from leaders.  It seems like a lot more work.

But then consider this.

If you, as a leader, are assessed based on the performance of your people, who will give you the best results?

  • The people treated like clones, who are forced to conform to an old-fashioned, three flavoured mode of management.
  • Or those who know that their uniqueness is recognised, respected and utilised. 

You know the answer.

You know what to do.

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