How Do You Manage Differences?

Five people from diverse backgrounds, ages, gender

Do you have a colleague that appears to be the complete opposite of you?

I have certainly worked with people who are very different to me, the way they approach a task, their perception of a situation, the way in which they communicate and so it goes on.

Looking back, as a young aspiring leader I resigned myself to the idea that difference is just a fact of life and I just needed to get on with what I needed to do and have as little contact as possible with people who were very different to me.

Now, older and much wiser, I acknowledge that people are different, however the way I perceive those differences has changed. I now work with individuals and teams helping them to discover how to manage differences in the workplace for the greater good of the team and how the extent to which they manage differences impacts their effectiveness as an individual, a team member or a leader.

Positive or Negative Mindsets

There are four mindsets with which we can manage differences between ourselves, and our colleagues


Four Mindsets

Mindset 1 – Holding onto the perception of “difference is bad”, will have a significant impact on our relationships with others, it will impact the mood and atmosphere, making the workplace unpleasant for everyone and resulting in low contribution and performance.

Mindset 2 – Resigning oneself to the idea that “difference is a fact of life”, although a slightly less negative mindset to perceiving difference as being bad, being resigned to something will have an adverse effect on team morale and performance, as when we have resigned ourselves, we simply go through the motions, our passion for the work diminishes and disengagement is inevitable.

Mindset 3 – Believing that “difference is good” and is something to be recognised and appreciated amongst colleagues. Individuals appreciate that a colleague has different strengths and skills and that they may do things differently or hold a differing opinion on their own

Mindset 4 – Takes valuing difference to the next level. Individuals with this mindset, perceive “difference as an opportunity”, meaning that they seek out diversity within their team or organisation, they truly recognise the value of collaborating with individuals who hold diverse perspectives or strengths. Studies have shown that the more diverse a team, in every dimension of diversity, age, gender, ethnicity, education, personality, and behavioural preferences……… the more effective the team will be.

How do you manage difference when you are having a good day?

Now ask yourself, do you have a different mindset when it comes to differences in the workplace when you are having a bad day?

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The Jigsaw Discovery Tool and learning experiences answer the “So What?” question that very few management tools are capable of answering. Your understanding evolves, allowing you to develop a better understanding of your team members, building strong, trusting and collaborative relationships between leaders and their teams.

Jigsaw Discovery Experiences asks the best questions. The ones that will solve problems with insight, meaning that leaders know what actions to take and understand what the implications will be as their team start to rebuild, refocus and perform; They also know how they can support individual team members to find fulfilment and be motivated in their role.

Get in touch, if you want to know more about how the Jigsaw DiscoveryTool and Learning Experiences can help you to get the best from their teams, by seeing “Difference as an opportunity”.

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