As human beings, each of us has intrinsic characteristics that set us apart from one another and make us unique. These individual traits are reflected and impact various areas of our lives. The professional one is one of them.
Individual characteristics, visions, and competencies – such as, for example, the so-called soft skills – certainly bring more richness to the work environment and even help define a company’s culture. When we work as a team and towards a common goal, they gain another dimension and usefulness, and that’s why respecting and taking advantage of them takes on such a relevant role.
Although the workplace is an environment where, in the final analysis, results are collective, it is essential not to give up individual visions. Any success will be the sum of all those who contributed to it. That’s why, in a professional context where everyone has the freedom to express themselves and contribute, the result will always be more positive. If, on the contrary, one tries to impose a vision or strategy – one size fits all – there will certainly be more discontent and the consequences will be visible.
It is also important to mention that individuality is not individualism. Individuality is what distinguishes us from each other, while individualism is only focused on achieving our personal goals, which may not add much value when working in a team.
In the sense of respecting uniqueness, there must be room to listen to each other. Dialog is indeed the key when we speak up, because it involves conveying a message and being open to feedback. The space for different visions and for communication in the work environment favor a healthier context with better results.
Respecting each other’s modus operandi, but with a view to a common goal, can undoubtedly increase a company’s chances of success. And this applies whether launching a new product or solving a bug. We know that there are business processes that are already defined in advance for various situations, but these should not limit the potential of each employee.
Certainly some will be more comfortable speaking or giving a presentation in public; others will be more analytical and others will be more creative. Being aware of these individual characteristics in order to enhance them – in an environment of freedom, trust, and respect – is fundamental. I even believe that companies should invest in the personal and professional development of each employee, as well as understand what their goals are and help them achieve them.
I also believe that creativity, so important in the work context, is directly linked to the freedom we have. So, the more freedom we have for each person to manifest their personal characteristics, the more creative solutions there will be to solve day-to-day challenges and, as a consequence, more motivation. An environment where initiative is rewarded stimulates employees in many ways, ultimately creating a place where everyone feels comfortable to experiment and take risks. And so one progresses, individually, as a team, and as a company.
All in all, collective vision and unity will always be richer than individual vision and effort.