The earth is made up of over seven billion distinct individuals. Everyone has their own traits; some are positive, which can put them ahead of others, and some are negative, and these flaws ensure that no one is perfect. No two individuals are the same, and this is how it has been since the dawn of time. So why does it seem difficult for some to accept those who are different?
The other day, I completed a questionnaire to obtain my DISC profile. I have done this before for different work requirements, and it always amazes me how these seemingly arbitrary questions somehow give such an accurate portrayal of my personality and work habits. There are things that I do better than others, things that I need to work on, and flaws that I would love to change, but at the end of the day need to find a way to embrace as they are a result of the way my brain is wired. For example, I have never been a neat and tidy person, however I very much like and appreciate and neat and tidy environment; it makes for a more productive day with less distractions, and a generally happier demeanor. So where is the disconnect? It seems simple enough – I like it tidy, so I should keep it tidy. But for some reason, it has never been this way. I do try, but ultimately there are other things that take my attention away and the goal of straightening up always gets put on the back burner. So when someone with a completely different brain and personality notices this, they might scoff and boil it down to laziness. But it really is just a different brain make-up. I’m not going to get into the science of our brains, as interesting as it is, however I would like to offer a few suggestions for those who work with someone with traits different from your own. It may seem impossible for the two of you to accomplish anything together, but it might not be.
- Take the DISC profile – have your office mates take the profile then share your results as a group. It might be very eye-opening to realize that the person who you thought was snubbing you every morning at the coffee pot is really just extremely introverted and shy.
- Remember no one is perfect – you might be tempted to write someone off because of a trait that you view as a flaw; but maybe instead of a flaw, it’s just different from how you operate. This doesn’t necessarily make it bad. And even if it is something that could use some work, remember that you are not perfect either. Try to be more understanding of others and you’ll probably find that your frustration levels will lessen.
- Look at the positive – for every bad trait, there is bound to be a good one. Try and focus on that next time you start to get fed up with a coworker. Maybe it seems as though they take far too long to accomplish a task; but possibly it takes a little longer because they have been busy lending a helping hand to others. Or who knows, maybe they are just spending all of their time on elaborate pranks for the amusement of others. Also a good thing.
Whatever differences you may have, if you look hard enough you should be able to find an admirable quality in everyone around you. Find a way to embrace the differences in others, and remember that different is not bad! We can learn from those who are different and work to improve ourselves in the process.