When working with my team, I urge them to go the extra mile in helping our clients to see and appreciate the differing natural talents of those around them. This goes way beyond acknowledging or paying lip-service to others’ abilities or even – though still a great thing – identifying tasks, roles and projects that draw upon people’s diverse and complimentary abilities. At a much more profound level, it’s about really understanding others to the point where you can be IN AWE of their innate gifts. When people successfully shift the needle from recognition to appreciation and then to awe of others, relationships and connections deepen in a way that is not only rewarding in itself, but a catalyst to opening up bigger and more significant collaborative opportunities and possibilities.
The ‘tipping point’ for accelerating my own ability to genuinely see and feel gratitude for what others bring (things that I either struggle to do, get zero satisfaction from, or require more effort than I’m willing to invest), was when I made a conscious choice to ‘be in awe’ of others. As a result, it somehow became easier not only to see, but to be wowed by others’ differing abilities. There’s no real surprise in what I discovered across my family, friends, team and clients (who are driven by a heap of different motivations) – a gold mine of diverse but complimentary talents!
Especially if you’re currently in a place where you’re frustrated by others’ ways of thinking and operating, I urge you, as I did, to make this conscious decision to be in awe of them – and yes, you may have to ‘fake it till you make it’. Making this commitment will act as an ‘interrupter’ to any default thinking around irritations: someone is too detailed or too brief; overly sensitive or overly blunt; not fast enough or not considered enough; always up and down or always ‘one note’. Instead, you’ll be looking at people through a different lens and, as a result, will find opportunities previously missed to draw upon strengths critical to your personal success and fulfillment, and to the achievement of your team and organization’s goals.
When the senior leaders in the global organizations in which I work take up this ‘be in awe’ challenge, it’s a great thrill to see the lightbulbs start to go off for them. It’s in this way, for example, I’ve seen people formerly written off as ‘being negative’, become actively sought out to flag the risks, ensuring that big, innovative ideas get to see the light of the day versus hitting early, major roadblocks. I’ve also seen people once considered ‘too salesy’, be engaged to inspire and persuade others to come on board with the high value outcomes delivered by the quiet, diligent efforts of others who were relying on their results to speak for themselves, only to find they were going completely unnoticed and unused – so a win-win for all. And it goes on – someone opens up because they feel supported by a person’s ability to deeply empathize, while someone else offers a different perspective and possible solutions by stepping outside of the situation. One person gets things started, scoring quick wins, another keeps it moving, rallying others to completion.
I realized early on that a roadblock to being in awe of others’ abilities is our frequent lack of awareness, let alone awe, in relation to our own talents. When a client marveled at my gift for ‘creating a safe space’ for people to speak up about challenging issues, my puzzled response was, ‘Do I?’ The fact is, we often dismiss or fail to give credit to what comes naturally and requires such little effort on our part. How could just ‘doing what we do’ be so highly valued by others? As a result, (not helped by society’s messaging about the virtues of modesty and humility), we deflect compliments. ‘Oh, it was nothing’, we reply when told: ‘That question you asked nailed it for us,’ or ‘Thank goodness you read between-the-lines’ or even, ‘You’ve saved us, we’d have been in court!’
I strongly believe that recognizing, and feeling good about, our own natural abilities is essential to opening our eyes, minds and hearts to the differing strengths and value of others. Uncovering your own Instinctive Drives® is a great short-cut to discovering and learning to love the innate talents that manifest when you’re able to do things in your natural and best way. This self-awareness will also set you up for success in my ‘be in awe of others’ challenge. And, as for me one challenge is never enough, I’m ALSO going to challenge you to be brave and ask people what it is they value about your contribution – you’ll likely be surprised by what they admit to being in awe of – and by what you never even realized about yourself!
You can find out more about your – and others’ – natural and best way of doing things, and how to make the most of a diversity of talents within teams and organizations, at Instinctivedrives.com