In this blog, we continue our February discourse on individuality and how it makes you an effective: employee, family member, social acquaintance, and citizen.
In our first two blogs – February 2019 – we explained why it’s essential for you ‘to be you’ and how to ensure you do so without leaving too many wrinkles in your relationships. Yes, you can, in a win-win manner, be yourself, defend your turf and become ever more effective at what you do.
We will keep harping on the Effectiveness lab’s philosophy that when you are authentic and present the true-image of yourself, you attain incredible efficacy in all that you put your hands on. When you like what you do, it follows that you give it your best – i.e., physical and mental energies and the ever important and at times elusive, own goodwill.
Some of you may ask if things can be that simple and linear. And the answer: yes they can be and perhaps, that may be your entry to the individuality/difference discourse
To make matters more understandable, we look at the above via another lens – the defense of individuality. That all we are doing, and hopefully successfully, is to defend ‘difference’ – and individual difference at that. Let us not scorn ourselves or allow others to do so when we manifest differently from them. And for some, it takes a bit of prompting initially, and then self-discipline
Ultimately, your difference is your competitive advantage. Difference is the PIN to your personal value-add in a competetive situation, just like the bank PIN is the key to your bank account. Therefore, we advise that what makes you dissimilar from the other/s should be recognised, understood, appreciated, protected and put to good use. It’s about getting value from your dissimilarities, just like businesses create value addition from the dollars, human brains, and other things like copyrights that they have exclusive rights over
So, how can individual difference equal personal competitiveness?
- Let us keep this as simple as possible. What the other person doesn’t have and is available to thyself, renders you unique. You attain a certain amount of distinctiveness. Example: the OECD has affirmed that soft and not hard skills are the thing when it comes to getting juicy jobs in the gig economy – i.e., empathy, communicating with impact, etc. These are things that can’t be done well by computers. Our computer friends are yet to design chips that can compete with humans in these soft-skills. So, if you are the empathetic type, that is your competitive advantage and may land you a job in the gig economy. In fact, you may be employed long before your more hard-skilled peers.
- By the way, even something that is considered strange, negative, etc. amounts to individuality and can be taken advantage of. Let us take phobia for example. Having specific phobia is one thing, but being the victim of behavior or actions of people that act out of dread is another. It can render you vulnerable and different from those around you. While finding yourself victim to phobia shouldn’t ever be allowed in society, as we need in the first place, to appreciate one another’s individuality and uniqueness, the world is never a black and white affair. There is always the middle grey patch. However, phobia shouldn’t always be looked at in the negative. The negative individuality can be turned into a positive. Example: consider exploring positive leads from phobic situations be it from the receiver’s or giver’s side. The owner of fashion brand curveWOW has provided a window for those considered fat to get fashionable clothing. The latter is a positive obtained from what is customarily considered a phobia and a ‘negative difference.’ There can be many tag-on to this innovation – an in-company program at curveWOW designed to help others understand why people are fat, support them to cut weight or live positively with their weight – why not? So in effect, a phobia can be turned into a positive and what’s considered phobic becomes a positive value-add to industry, difficult situation or society. It appears to us at the Effectiveness lab, a mental positioning matter, for one to flip phobia from a negative to a positive outlook, that is good for both the receivers and givers of phobic behavior
- Individuals have and will always have differences – but understanding how to positively deal with individual difference isn’t something we always think about. To make matters worse, the ‘averageness’ imposed on the world, means that we more often than not, emphasize and do what the norm (and perceived as good) is and de-emphasize what isn’t the norm (and likely unique to thyself). It’s rare for your individuality to be the norm – unless you are Donald Trump. Now, we will for purposes of this blog consider four types of individual difference – your learning Style, aptitude, personality, and EQ. All four can be used to one’s advantage, but we will focus on your EQ. EQ – is a set of four related abilities: perceiving, using, understanding and managing emotions. If we get five people together, it’s highly probable that each one of them will rank differently on the four EQ variables – and there comes the individuality in these individuals. Without getting into the specifics here, if you can’t manage emotions, there are jobs you will be advised not to take – at the same time, there will be niches in the job market, that uniquely suit your EQ factor level. Also, individual differences can be exploited when forming teams – you may avoid placing individuals that manage emotions the same way on the same side. Right?
Your difference is your competitive advantage. Right?