What happens when you are working alongside someone and there are four different things that need to be accomplished before the upcoming deadline?
I would assume that there is some communication that takes place between the two parties, but what kind of communication, and how? Looking first at what needs to get finished:
Perhaps one of those four things is editing and revising the 50-page report.
Well, one person, let’s call them Bruce, cannot write with proper grammar or diction; in fact, they believe that grammar is correctly spelled as grammer.
The other individual, Janice, writes with excellent grammer and types at a rate of 100 WPM.
Bruce seems to believe that he is the best writer. That of the four things, he is great at editing and revising and actually really enjoys it and therefore should take on that responsibility.
Janice thinks about the three other things that need to get done, preparing a presentation on the overview of the report, finalizing a venue for the presentation, and communicating all aspects of the process internally.
She knows that Bruce has shown an impeccable communication style that she doesn’t have. She doesn’t naturally communicate effectively with others and gets drained when communicating person to person for long periods of time because she’s introverted. With that in mind, she has been able to see how well Bruce engages an entire room of people and therefore believes he is best equipped to take on the presentation and internal communication.
Little does Janice know that Bruce believes Janice has a hidden strength, one she has not recognized for herself yet. She can communicate in a way that builds trust always. That’s why Bruce wants to do some of the editing.
He wants to give Janice an opportunity to take advantage of that strength and hopefully put her in a position to reveal it to herself.
The thing is, Janice might not see her own strength without the help of Bruce. It’s important that we have others who can broaden our perspectives and show us things about ourselves that we don’t always recognize.
However, it would be crazy if Bruce to expect that Janice would be able to speak as emphatically as he does. They simply do not have the same strength in speaking — at least not yet. But, everyone is unique and is going to display different strengths and weaknesses as well as different levels of advancement for each strength or weakness.
I think it’s important to note just how different we all are.
I think about my Dad and the way that he is able to work a room and present in front of people. Then I consider the other people that I interact with that both can and cannot do that. I am close to people who are more numbers oriented and feel uncomfortable in front of a large group of people or within a large reception dinner.
For my Dad, being an active member within a large reception dinner is a strength, for another, that is a weakness.
It is commonly said that two business partners should have different strengths. That just seems logical, doesn’t it? Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak for example, with Apple. Steve Wozniak “Woz” was a whiz with computers and in the early days, created most of the framework and was the first true engineer. Steve Jobs, by contrast, did not have the most well-developed sense of the used technology and was an incredibly talented marketer and salesman.
Neither Steve would have made Apple into Apple on their own.
Embracing the weaknesses and strengths of others is typically a difficult thing. When we are able to swallow our pride and admit that someone else is more talented or better equipped at something, we are able to do much more than we ever could on our own.
And ultimately, I feel that the most important thing that we can do? Is simply have conversations with other people about strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between.
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” — Sam Walton