From “HBR”…

Help Your Employees Be Themselves at Work

High performing companies recognize that diverse perspectives can strengthen their performance, and that homogeneity can cause blindspots (as with a team of right-handed YouTube engineers who realized 10% of videos were being uploaded upside-down because they hadn’t considered how left-handed users would maneuver their phones). But in order to unlock the benefits of diversity, we have to make it safe for employees to “uncover” and bring their full selves to work.

A key imperative of the executive role is the minimize inefficiencies in performance to the greatest degree possible.  Our ability as leaders to remove barriers to individual excellence directly impacts team performance and organizational performance.  The baggage that we carry as individuals into the working environment can have a crippling effect.  One example of this is the impact of “covering” that individuals engage in working environments to avoid attention to their personal lives.  While this behavior has a clear disadvantage in optimal performance of the individual, closer inspection is necessary before implementing a policy of 100% transparency and sharing.  The homologizing process of integrating ourselves into a team aligned to clear goal achievement has a purpose and significant benefits.  If we throw that process out to accommodate personal expression, we risk losing the leveraged benefits of common attitudes toward performance, efficiency of communication and ego-abstraction of goal achievement.  There must be a balance where personal idiosyncrasies are tempered by the team-first focus on performance.  As a leader, we do this through exemplified enforcement of voice and dignity as team virtues.

From “The Junior Executive

A pitfall that traps many new executives is the attempt to tailor an approach to each unique individual. As we have noted strongly in previous chapters, an imperative for the executive is to establish an environment whereby individuals can excel. Tailoring an individual approach or attempting to weed out subversives is a major distraction from the real work of the team and, in an organization of professionals, a sign of failure.

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