Have you ever wondered why you can provide minor instructions for one person on your team and have to go into detail instructions with another?

We all inherently realize that not all human beings are the same. This is a pretty basic concept that is often overlooked by managers. Consider the differences between us beyond the color of our skin and hair. Our cultural perspectives play a role in our response to instructions as well. There may be language barriers, different educational backgrounds, unknown personality traits, and varying value systems that greatly affect how information is processed and interpreted.

As a leader, part of our responsibility is to engage our teams by varying our approach to meet the needs of our employees.

Consider Suzy who used to work for me. Suzy was very talented and dedicated to the excellence of her work. Then came a short time when Suzy made several mistakes in a row. I came down on her hard, which was a big mistake. Suzy was beating herself up more than I ever could, and I failed to recognize the impact of my words on her self-confidence. Suzy took a long time to get over that incident, and I learned an important lesson.

Jean was a person that really thrived under pressure. The more I threw at her, the happier Jean was. I found that if Jean was not busy, her productivity suffered. Some people work well under pressure, like Jean. Some respond best to tough love, while others take it personally and shut down, like Suzy.

In order to optimize our effectiveness as leaders, we must have the ability to tailor our approach on a person-by-person basis, based on the situation at hand.

Our capacity to execute this concept will play a huge role in our ability to get the best work out of our teams and other partners along the journey. Click here to access Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations principles, which can improve our effectiveness in this approach. 

Posted by Mary Kuniski

Mary Kuniski is a catalyst for business and individual change. Throughout her career, she has consistently led corporate businesses into the future, often achieving process improvement and change that others could not. Mary’s enthusiastic attitude and tenacious ability to keep moving forward is why she identifies with this quote from Dale Carnegie: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” Passionate about problem resolution and committed to coaching and leading others, Mary is driven to ensure that everything she does provides lasting value. At a young age, her leadership and public speaking skills were recognized and nurtured through her ten-year participation in 4-H. She has also fostered change for businesses such as Parkinson Voice Project, where she directed the implementation of their website and online learning management system, and Overhead Door Corporation, where she created and launched a successful core data process improvement strategy. During her tenure with The Michaels Companies, Mary held five Director positions and three Vice President roles, and pioneered the company’s expansion into Quebec. Her efforts to lead the transformation of over 40,000 craft items to three languages resulted in Michaels becoming the first international retailer to acquire language certification from Quebec on the initial attempt. This meant Michaels successfully adherred to strict French-language laws. Mary has over 20 years in executive leadership in the retail industry and for 10 years led supply chain shipment improvement and savings and reduction efforts at Michaels. Mary is a Dale Carnegie graduate, certified trainer, and consultant for Dale Carnegie DFW's Executive Leadership training. She holds an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix and a degree in Human Development, Clothing Studies from Pennsylvania State University.

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