Americans, I have been consumed this week by the news of
James Holmes and the victims at the Aurora, Colorado
is so difficult to understand.
can possibly lead someone to do this?
There have been
some initial speculations about the "tipping points"
that may have set some of James' horrific actions into
motion. They have to do
with an intense feeling of nonacceptance.
in the Sunday New York Times this past weekend, there
was also an article about Greg Ousley who at age 14
murdered his parents. Now at age 33 he reflects
with remorse from prison about what led him to do what
he did that day so long ago.
states that it had to do with an intense feeling of
nonacceptance by his parents.
extreme, these two examples highlight our human need for
acceptance and the power it holds on
behavior. Certainly the absence of
acceptance does not mean that one would be drawn to
commit such horrific crimes, however recognizing the
importance of acceptance is essential when managing and
a leadership tool, it is one of the most effective ways
to build diverse teams and to attain the best from
people...by showing acceptance.
it is incredibly difficult to show acceptance in the
face of difference.
all, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to
be, we are most comfortable and thus more accepting of
others who are most like us. It is human
nature. We just have to work that much
harder to suspend judgment and find points of connection
with those who are at opposite ends.
find this most intriguing when observing people who work
across functions. Just imagine the technical and
scientific person who conducts controlled research
studies to gather facts. They are careful when
using these facts and numbers by ensuring their validity
and accuracy. Now imagine this person interacting
with a sales person who is more likely to throw out
suppositions and estimates in a "what if we were to do
it this way" fashion.
people in this scenario bring unique strengths, but in
the face of each other they often don't see the
complementary brilliance; they see obstacles. They
see fallacy and deficiency in each other.
a result, they don't accept each other. They both
miss out on the others' brilliance and are left feeling
frustrated and unappreciated..
scenarios can play out at home as well. Since
parenting is often my analogy to leadership, I see how
difficult it is to consistently accept my daughter for
the differences we have between us.
- I am outgoing. She
- I am outspoken. She
- I love fashion and
clothes. She could care less what she
the list goes on. And, she is only 8!
I have learned about acceptance is that it is not about
having to be in agreement. When you accept
someone's differences, you simply suspend the idea of
trying to convince them of being another way. You
may not agree with their way, but you simply allow it to
be as it is.
not easy. I do catch myself from time to time when
I am asking her to speak up, make friends or dress
appropriately. I just have to work hard to be
aware of what and how I am saying things to ensure it's
not too frequent.
the workplace, it is equally as
with differences is at an all-time high in today's
business world. It is beyond the
functional differences described above because there are
now four generations in the workplace, increasing gender
and ethnic diversity at all levels, geographical
differences and business on a global
scale. Accepting different ways to
tackle problems, create solutions or innovate new
approaches requires a whole new level of acceptance in
the workplace today.
are some key points to keep in mind when you find
yourself face-to-face with someone so different you
really wish they could just see it your
focusing on the ways they are flawed, find their
strengths. Oftentimes their strengths will be in an
area where you are lacking.
ways to leverage their strengths when interacting with
their flaws. Nobody is comprised of just
your strengths when dealing with them, but don't seek
to convince or change them to adopt your way.
don't believe we intentionally try to make people feel
we have pressing goals or objectives, like raising great
kids or getting the job done by its deadline, that are
threatened when faced with differences. Time, urgency,
fear and our own limitations can often make it difficult
to accept others' differences.
there is no doubt that in our increasingly complex world
today, the need for acceptance is high.
Whether it be with parenting or leadership, I hope you
are inspired to do your part in accepting differences
both at home and at work.
ways to "stretch your bandwidth" and close the gap
between differences by finding out where your behaviors
are most extreme and unyielding with The Birkman
Are you looking
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interested in developing yourself as a better leader and
understanding what your next step should be?
Consider one-on-one business
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Lopez is an award-winning author of
Connected and Committed
Leader. She is also a
consultant, and a Birkman Method certified business
coach who has been featured on the Today Show ,Latina
Voices Smart Talk, Living Smart and Fox News
In addition, her accomplishments have been
highlighted in several business periodicals
including Personal Excellence, The Long Beach
Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina
Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her
articles on management and leadership are regularly seen
in Leadership Excellence.
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