"It's what you learn after you know it all that really matters."
John Wooden

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 382

Estimated reading time:  2.45 minutes



A friend sent me this link to a BBC piece about “What Bosses are Really Made Of”



It’s a good read, and one theme is clear; we are all human and that apparently is surprising. I can attest, having worked with C-Suite people for the last 20 years, we are all human. Regardless of your position in an organization, you and everyone with whom you work is a human being. That may sound obvious, but when I think about it, the more I realize how often I fall into one of two traps in my thinking about the people with whom I work. I wonder if either of these, or others resonate with you?


One trap is that the people with whom I work are closer to objects than subjects. Words like ‘stakeholders’, ‘participants’ and even ‘human resources’ can lead me into this trap. Or, dividing groups into ‘us’ and ‘them’ frameworks, like production and sales, or management and staff, can lead me into objectifying the people in the other group.


The other trap for me is thinking that because we are all human, you must think and be like me. And of course when I think about it, I realize how absurd that statement is. And I know that I have all sorts of examples from my life. For example, thinking that people have similar family lives, or that they have come from similar life experience. Whenever someone says, “I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say…” they are making a huge assumption.



We know that no two brains are alike; each of us have different neural pathways, different ways of seeing and understanding. And no two of us have the same heart, the same values, the same belief systems guiding our behaviours and actions. It is in the varied diversity that collective creativity grows. We do not want to be, nor should we be the same. And we are all still humans, and need to be honoured and respected as such. Even if we are the CEO who made a dumb mistake in someone else’s opinion.