Leaders craft a culture in which differentness is both expected and appreciated. The attitude and response to interpersonal differences determine how people work together on teams and how teams work together within the organization.
Leaders tell stories that create culture, and leaders live stories that embed that culture throughout the business. If teams look the same, think the same, and act the same, then team members miss the creative adventure of dealing with differentness. Like-minded teams are never as healthy or productive as teams that embrace the range of differentness: gender, generation, strengths, experience, ability, ethnicity, education, and personality.
ATTITUDE IN Two WoRDS
Between is defined as the space separating two objects, two regions, or two people.
Think in terms of a Venn Diagram. Where is your focus?
Is your attention drawn to the common space shared by the two circles or the area where each circle has its own unique space? People with a “between” attitude will zero in on the unique space that each circle has on its own. These people tend to distinguish themselves from other people who differ from them in some way: older/younger, male/female, thinker/relater, introvert/extrovert, or veteran/newbie.
Among is defined by the idea of being in the midst of and surrounded by. Those who have an “among” attitude start by observing the overlap in the circles. Leaders with an “among” attitude assume the value of differentness in order to build high-performing teams. Leaders also understand the interpersonal brokenness of our world and the perceptions of differentness that cloud our thinking. They know that past experience shapes our attitudes and our ability to work effectively with people on the opposite end of any of the polarities of interpersonal distinction.
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