Blending In vs. Standing Out


Blending in vs Standing out - 1When I graduated from college in 1983, and started to look for jobs, I had to do two things during interviews. First I had to convince employers that I understood the basics of their business — the lingo, the process, the requirements of being an employee of their company.

But I also had to give them the sense I was different than other applicants. I needed them to know that I stood out from the pack. I wanted them to believe that I’d work harder and deliver a better work product than anyone else.

It’s a conundrum that faces everyone trying to get ahead in the world of business, from recent graduates, to those moving up the ladder, to entrepreneurs of every stripe: how to stand out, while also making it clear you fit in.

The implications of these two facets of a valuable employee are obvious. But consider for a moment these in the light of being a leader and not just an employee.

Blending in vs Standing out - 2What are the leadership implications of blending in versus standing out?

What should we be doing as leaders?

I think it is this. I think that we need to operate with distinctness.

Distinctness needs to apply across the board to our leadership style and it should portray a story of uniqueness. And that story should begin with the origin of our passion. It should encompass the object of our passion. And, finally it should end with obtaining the prize of our passion.

This article is a little short today. And it is just an opinion. But it is intended to spark some discussion. When leadership is your passion, what should you do? Should you stand out? Or should you blend in?

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: stevendepolo / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: cobalt123 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

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