At the beginning of the school term in my home country of Zimbabwe I had the opportunity to speak to about two dozen staff members at a private school. The orientation workshop covered topics on familiarization with the new institution, as well as topics on personal development, grooming and social media etiquette.
The one theme that cut across the topics was the need to be unique, to stand apart from the norm. Businesses differentiate themselves by offering unique services. This also needs to be supported by employees who are unique. Uniqueness in an individual affects how they do their work, how they treat customers and those around them. Its in how they dress, speak and behave. It can be seen in the hobbies they pursue and even the creative ideas they bring to the workplace. In a school environment this is very important, as there are lots of little eyes to watch and learn.
But being unique goes beyond what you offer. It touches on how you feel. When you are unique, and your ideas seek to be different and stand out from the rest, you are not weighed down by comparisons. It means you are an important entity, a unique and different person from everyone else. And that is an invaluable thing to know about yourself. You cannot be ignored or put down when you understand that. And once your worth is established, you keep bringing so much more.
The group was able to translate this perspective into how their teamwork should be, with no one's contribution belittled or dismissed. Each time we met I see them remember some of those aspects, and greet me more confidently and deliberately than they used to.