In the different spaces of our lives and work the people we meet have many intrinsic and extrinsic attributes that are sometimes perceived as weaknesses and distasteful traits. These idiosyncrasies have the potential to have a powerful positive impact in our organizations and with our places of influence. These idiosyncratic traits can be developed through self-awareness by understanding what people desire within themselves to engage people with influence and win business through great relationships. Recognizing these quirks in ourselves may limit us to certain job types but we may have a critical number of people to love what we do. There is potential in everyone, but it is sometimes dispiriting to note that many of these peculiarities are completely shamed. Instead of trying to change people into what you think they should be or rewarding certain specific traits, such as out-going personalities, when it comes to leadership, we must remember that every space needs a variation of identities. No trait must be discriminated against as every spectrum can tap into the strengths of every trait. There is no successful company that does not have people from both ends of the spectrum.
Society today is inclined to certain temperaments and personal characteristics. This has skewed the factors with regards to preference of the class of people that can be employed into any leadership and business space. For instance, according to Adam Grant’s research at Wharton, studies show that 96 percent of leaders and managers report being extroverted. In a poll, 65 percent of senior executives said it was a liability for leaders to be introverted and only 6 percent saw introversion as an advantage. In other cases, extremely extroverted people are seen as noisy. How can their voices be used to make an impact? As Daniel Radcliffe rightly said, “there is something inherently valuable about being a misfit.” Once there is an understanding about what one needs to do to augment one’s characteristics, things can always be turned around in a positive direction. The jarring reality is that societal norms have been structured not to celebrate unconventional thinkers, drop outs or rebels who are not successful – with reason. Most high school dropouts end up failing to qualify for 90% of jobs and the cycle of poverty continues.
In every situation, the will, passion and the environment matter as much as technical skills. It is always essential to create the needed environment to make the best of every trait. With leadership, one must discover the moment to lead and the art of being a leader. There is no absolute solution, although perseverance, adaptation, discipline and resilience play a part in learning how to achieve success. Inasmuch as leadership has to do with demeanor, it has a lot to do with service as well. Even leaders with innate ideal traits have had to go through months to years of training to perfect their skill. It goes without saying then, that, people seen as outliers and misfits can be polished to make a positive impact.
Here are the 4 key ways we can make our idiosyncrasies work for us:
Self Awareness: The journey begins with self-awareness and securing clarity of thought, personality, emotions, strengths, weakness and vision. To turn around the idiosyncrasies that work against you, it is pertinent to pay attention to the triggers of negativity inside you and to remain in constant communication with yourself as well as those who give feedback that builds you up. Self-awareness also gives one an unapologetic claim to be who you are. Shutting out external noise and social stigma attached to the traits that have been tagged problematic will go a long way to keep your mindset in a positive dimension.
Working Our Weaknesses (WOW): Inside every weakness is an inherent strength. Whenever we engage people we must identify the notable words that are used to describe our weaknesses. Whenever these are explicitly mentioned it is a charge for us to reassess what makes us repeatedly take those actions and where we can evolve them into the real strength that it is. A very quiet person has the power to be assertive and every noise maker has the power to use their voice for good. Find the weakness and make it work
Raising Necessity: As Brendon Bruchard, the world’s leading high performance coach would say, “Necessity is the emotional drive that makes great performance a must instead of a preference. Unlike weaker desires that make you want to do something, necessity demands that you take action. When you feel necessity, you don’t sit around wishing or hoping. You get things done. Because you have to. There’s not much choice; your heart and soul and the needs of the moment are telling you to act. It just feels right to do something. And if you didn’t do it, you’d feel bad about yourself. You’d feel as though you weren’t living up to your standards, meeting your obligations, or fulfilling your duties or your destiny. Necessity inspires a higher sense of motivation than usual because personal identity is engaged, creating a sense of urgency to act.” This is the guiding tool for us to push past our quirks and see possibilities.
Seek Professional Support: Effectively transforming weaknesses into strengths is a skill that most people do not naturally possess. You need to seek the services of a professional coach to guide you along the path of improving on your areas of weakness.
There are a few remarkable leaders and entrepreneurs that have broken boundaries and made idiosyncrasies work. Bill Gates who was once asked how to succeed in a predominantly extroverted world said, “Well, I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area. Then, if you come up with something, if you want to hire people, get them excited, build a company around that idea, you better learn what extroverts do, you better hire some extroverts (like Steve Ballmer I would claim as an extrovert) and tap into both sets of skills in order to have a company that thrives both in deep thinking and building teams and going out into the world to sell those ideas.”
Mark Zuckerberg, who has also been known to be introverted and reserved, traits that would limit one to a private and restrained position in business has been unbelievably successful in founding and being the CEO of the social network site, Facebook. His invention has broken many rules and continues to do so; however his heightened expressiveness can be appreciated in the evidence of the magic he produces when it comes to technology.
Lisa Abeyta puts into words this controversial perspective saying,” the stories of unconventional, difficult people rising to success offer hope that our own unconventionality won’t limit our potential for success. And when we fail to fulfill expectations, we find solace in others who were misunderstood and unfairly judged for being different. We point out the educator who told Albert Einstein’s parents their son was too ignorant to learn, and we marvel at the teacher who said David Bowie needed to learn that music would never make him a livable wage.
Our idiosyncrasies can work to our advantage if we are willing to take the time and pain necessary to transform them into strengths.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Certified High Performance Coach, Global Speaker, Media Personality and award-winning Entrepreneur.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; the mother company that holds Dzigbordi Inc. & Allure Spa in The City. These brands provide services in Personal Impact & Development, Corporate Consulting, Wellness & Grooming.
Her coaching, seminars and training has helped many organizations and individuals to transform their image and impact, elevate their engagement and establish networks leading to improved and inspired teams, growth and productivity.
Her area of focus is Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power (H.E.L.P).