10 Ways to Find Out What We Have in Common Instead of Focusing on Our Differences
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Everyone knows that it’s important to have good interactions with the people around you. You can’t build meaningful relationships if you don’t spend time with others. That being said, it can be really easy to focus on the things that separate us instead of focusing on the things we have in common (or what we can do to make our differences work for us rather than against us). In this article, we will explore practical tips that will help you find out what we have in common instead of focusing on our differences. These ideas aren’t just helpful… they also work! Even though they may not seem like it now, they are sure to bring positive change in your life as they will improve the quality of your relationships.
Listen more than you speak.
A good conversation is one that involves listening more than speaking. When you are better prepared to listen, you will be better off and everyone around you will benefit. Listening is not just about hearing words; it’s also about taking in the tone of a message, picking up on the intent behind what someone is saying, and recognizing the emotions behind those words. Before you respond to a message or an interaction, pause to think about what you’re going to say. If you’re not sure what to say, you can always take a step back and let the other person finish their thought. When you speak, be aware of how you’re coming across and how you’re being perceived.
Focus on your similarities.
When you focus on your similarities with another person, you are more likely to get along because you have more in common. This can be a great way to break the ice with someone you are unfamiliar with. You can also try this technique when you feel like you are struggling to make connections with others. Set a reminder in your phone or put a note on your computer screen to remind yourself to focus on your shared similarities with others.
Show an interest in another person’s life.
While it is important to focus on the differences, it is even more important to show an interest in another person’s life. When you take an interest in someone’s life, you are creating a connection. If you know someone who likes music, you might want to request to hear their favorite songs or learn some new ones. If you know someone who loves sports, you can find a way to show your interest in it as well.
Don’t personalize interactions.
Personalizing interactions can make you feel like you are at a loss when you are trying to build connections with others. In the article, “10 Powerful Ways to Stop Taking Things Personally“, Nick Wignall points out in his conclusion 10 principles to stop personalizing interactions:
- Look for root causes of taking things personally
- Validate the emotions behind taking things personally
- Break your chronic worry habit
- Practice perspective-taking
- Take a rain check on your personalizing
- Cultivate flexible self-talk
- Ask for what you want assertively
- Set better boundaries on hypercritical people
- Spend more time with genuinely supportive people
- Nurture your passions
Encourage face-to-face interactions.
It can often feel better to connect in person rather than only communicating via text, email, or social media. If you are planning to meet up with someone in person, try to make the meeting as face-to-face as possible. Turn off your phone, put it in your pocket, or leave it in a nearby place so that you don’t have to constantly check it.
Successful relationships are built on meaningful connections. When you make an effort to find commonalities with others, you are more likely to form meaningful relationships that last. It is important to remember that everyone has different needs and wants when it comes to forming relationships. Some people prefer face-to-face interactions while others may prefer texting or social media. You may even notice that the people you are interacting with are different from the people whom you are interested in. As long as you make an effort to understand the needs and expectations of others, you will be able to build meaningful connections with others.
4 Ways to Eliminate a Culture of Double Standards in the Workplace
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Workplaces are often governed by double standards. These norms and practices can make it difficult for employees to be recognized for their achievements or rewarded for their hard work. However, a culture of double standards doesn’t have to define your team; you can eliminate it with a few conscious steps. To understand why this occurs, consider how people behave in similar situations outside of the office. Double standards exist because we expect people to behave differently in certain situations without questioning why they feel that way in the first place. Here are four ways you can eliminate a culture of double standards in your team to ensure employees aren’t overlooked or let down by co-workers as easily as they might think they will be:
Be Clear About Your Expectations
The first step to eliminating double standards in your team is knowing your own expectations. While double standards exist because we expect people to act differently in certain situations, we also expect them to behave consistently. If you know you prefer to celebrate employee milestones or acknowledge good work regardless of their role or department, you’ll be better equipped to respond to a culture of double standards in your team. If you’re still struggling to identify the expectations you have of your team members, it can help to ask yourself what you’d want to see if you joined the team from another department or another company.
Celebrate Every Success
With so many double standards in the workplace, it can be easy to let down employees who have achieved a small but important milestone in their career or personal life. It’s important to recognize these achievements, but also to celebrate them publicly with the employee. You can acknowledge the milestone in a blog post or team meeting, or by sending an email with an open invitation for others to share their feedback and thoughts on the accomplishment. If you’re hesitant to acknowledge an achievement in the first place, it might be because you’re worried about encouraging employees to focus too much on their successes and lose sight of their challenges and obstacles. You can prevent this from happening with a few adjustments.
Set Realistic Goals and Celebrate When They’re Met
While double standards can make it difficult for employees to feel recognized for their achievements, they can also feel discouraged by unrealistic goals and deadlines. A good way to prevent this is to set goals with an eye towards the team’s long-term goals, but that don’t lose sight of the employee’s actual performance. For example, you could set a goal of increasing team revenue by 20%. However, if the percentage increase a team member was responsible for was only 10% of the total, it’s easy to feel like they didn’t make a significant impact (even though they did). To prevent employees from feeling discouraged by unrealistic goals, consider adjusting your goals in this way:
Don’t Let Conversations Turn Sour
Many double standards in the workplace stem from conversations that end badly. Conversations that go sour are often fueled by feelings of resentment, and can turn into arguments or feuds that leave people feeling badly about themselves. If a conversation goes sour, it’s important to step back and acknowledge the frustration that led to the argument. Start by apologizing to the other person and acknowledging your own frustrations. You can also try to identify what you’d want to happen next if the conversation wasn’t happening with you. If a conversation does go sour, keep the discussion focused on solving the problem and don’t let feelings of resentment turn into finger-pointing. Be mindful of how your tone of voice and body language influence the discussion.
Double standards occur in the workplace because we expect certain behaviors but not others. It can be frustrating when co-workers never seem to receive recognition for their achievements, but it’s important to remember that this is the culture in that team. If you want to eliminate a culture of double standards in your team, you’ll need to identify the double standards that are causing issues and make a concerted effort to address them.