Differences Are Okay!

         
              

 

People are often uncomfortable with differences and try to prove that we are all the same. They ask me questions like:

Aren’t we all just humans after all?

Nope! They may look the part, but no way are we all human. Some “people” are not people at all! They may speak human languages and walk upright, but many human types are not really human. We see them on the nightly news. They show up in political debates. They often manifest themselves in the forms of bosses, consultants, pundits, commentators, and so on, but nah, not all are humans.

Where am I going with this?

We are not all the same, even if we have some things in common, but that’s really okay! In fact, it can be very good!  Because differences can be uncomfortable for us, we often tend to marginalize and mitigate them, but differences can be as good as similarities. I mean it.

Me running sprints well, and you running distances well makes a better track team.  We have differences:  different gifts, different talents, different muscle composition, different lung capacity, different fast-twitch muscle fiber, different event times, different training, different diet, different exercise, different gear, different preferences, different backgrounds, different experience, different shapes, sizes, and colors, but on the same team, our differences are a good thing. Your talent coupled with mine help both of us more than we could help ourselves on our own. To borrow a line from a previous post of mine: Some call it synergy.

Don’t oversimplify. Yes, there are commonalities, but there are also differences. Don’t pretend that the differences are unimportant. They are valuable.

Worse, don’t pretend that they aren’t there. They are there and should be recognized…just don’t denigrate others because they’re not the same as you.

 

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Comments

Rue,
I am currently in school completing my degree in Organizational Management and Human Resources and I came across your blog regarding differences, which is a bit in line with what we are discussing in my Organizational Theory class this week. We all have differences, but differences are what can take good organizations to great. It is important to understand our common ground or commonalities amid one another, since this can help to create an atmosphere of comfort among the differences. When organizations are developing a vision of the future or even building a new team, it is important gather associates who come from all walks of life, differing worldviews and business areas with expertise in varying fields of work in order to build a strong and effective organization. Each of us is blessed with our own gifts, talents and knowledge, which we bring to the table when building any type of partnership. When building an effective organization or a team, it is necessary to have each element of the organization covered with the respective team members covering various areas of knowledge. Each of us is part of the overall body of the organization, but we cannot be all parts at once. The differences each of us brings to the table can fill a gap within the organization and lead to overall success and learning.

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