Never Forget That They’re Not You

I was on a hike with my friend Mark, when he started talking about how he gets great photos of all his outdoor adventures right there on his cell phone.

“It’s so easy, Alan,” he said, “You just plug your phone into your computer, upload to your desktop…” as he kept describing the steps I’d have to take, it started to sound less and less like English and I kept asking more questions. He stopped short of saying, “C’mon, any dummy can do it,” but I could tell that’s what he was thinking.

Easy? I don’t think so. Not for me.

“So, Mark,” I interrupted, “How’s your golf game coming along these days?”

As Mark knows, I’ve been playing golf my whole life, and I’m blessed with as full a swing now as I had when I was 25. Mark, not so much.

“What’s the problem, Mark? It’s so easy! You just take the club back, look at the ball, swing, and hit it.”

He got my point.

Technology is easy for Mark. Golf comes easier to me.

What’s this got to do with leadership and accountability? The people you work with are not you. There are going to be tasks in the work day that come more naturally to you than to them.

They’re not you.

This is one of the first things I remind leaders of if they complain that a person or team is not living up to the leader’s expectation. When what the leader is really expecting is what THEY would do in the same situation.

The key is to approach these situations respectfully and professionally. You don’t rub it in people’s face or act as though there’s something wrong with them. They’re not you. And that’s not a fault, it’s a fact. There are plenty of things they’re good at that you’re not. Acknowledge people for their strengths, and then clearly define what you want them to do; without assuming they should already know, and without judging them for not knowing.

They’re not you. And don’t forget it.

While many people would rather die than speak in front of a group, public speaking is another one of those things that comes naturally to Alan M. Dobzinski. He offers keynotes, presentations, teleseminars and webinars as well as corporate and annual meetings, offsite retreats and full-day or half-day facilitated workshops designed to suit your firm’s culture and help you create accountability throughout your organization. Contact him today to find out more.