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Putting People in a Box Fails | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Putting People in a Box Fails

Smart leaders will make use of personality assessments but will keep them in perspective.

Imagine that we assess the personality of each team member and put each person in a pre-designated box. We appropriately label that box, put it on the shelf, and tailor our responses to the person based on that label. In the end we just have a bunch of boxes with different labels.

It becomes easy to then think of people according to those labels and forget their humanity and vulnerability.

Great leaders recognize that and don’t just mentally place people in boxes. What are the characteristics they exhibit that work effectively?

  • They personally recognize the worth of their team players and work to tell and show them that they matter.
  • They answer questions when asked.
  • They spot the potential of their team players and nurture their strengths.
  • They help the players on their team discover unknown strengths, hidden talents, and encourage them to use them.
  • As they inspire their team players, they clear paths for their creativity instead of blocking the path for future growth.
  • They are loyal to their team members. Their team members know their leader has their back. Whatever loyalty is reflected from the top to the bottom of a team is reciprocated in the other direction.

Often, the most effective things to say are “Thank you” and “You are valued.”  In The Help, Aibileen was onto something when she told Mae Mobley, “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.”

Instead of putting people into individual boxes, the wise leader takes the team to a room of boxes, asks how those boxes can meet the needs of the task at hand, and pulls the best from each team member to build something great.  The wise leader is secure enough to encourage greatness in individual team players, willing to let those players shine in spotlight while the leader celebrates in the background.

People outside of boxes will create something better than people kept inside them every single time.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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