Unpleasantness does not lead to success

Ellie Herriot




In this week of extraordinary news headlines, whatever your politics, it is important we do not lose sight of the fact that we are all working with other human beings who deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. 

The quote below, taken from Gaby Hinsliff’s “Does Boris Johnson’s government have a women problem?” article in the Guardian, about Dominic Cummings, the prime ministerial adviser who sacked Sonia Khan, deserves some thought. 

“If he likes you and thinks you’re on side, he’ll work very effectively with you; if he thinks you’re disloyal or useless, he can be extremely unpleasant, but he did that to men and women,” says a longstanding former colleague. “I don’t think it’s a woman problem, I think it’s a ‘people he doesn’t like’ problem.”

At byrne∙dean we talk not so much about liking people but about “people like me”– those people that we naturally walk towards, who we find it easier to work with and with whom we may have a shared interest or working style.  It’s a normal human trait to be drawn to people who we find it easy to get on with but as a manager or leader it is important to consider how you treat everyone in your team.  To be a successful manager you need to ensure that everyone in your team feels comfortable and during difficult times those people in your team who are not like you may well be the most important people in your team. If you recruit in your own image or only listen to people who are like you it can be difficult to see all the options when you are trying to find a solution to a problem.  Someone who is less similar to you is more likely to have a different and potentially successful solution to a problem.  It is your team’s diversity which allows that creative idea to come through and if we ever needed a creative idea it is now. So embrace your team’s diversity and try to make everyone feel included so that they can put their ideas forward.  If you would like some help with making this happen in practice please let us know.

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