Mark LeBusque

Same Task Different Approaches

What’s Your Work-style Preference?

Frankie and Dougie are the two mini Dachshunds in the photo above (doing what they love most), that add so much love and joy to our family on a daily basis.

Same species if you like – canis lupus familiaris or more lovingly known as the “doxie” or “weinerdog” but very different work-styles in the way they approach the same task (obviously not sleeping).

This morning I was preparing some food for a daily omelette by cutting up a yellow, red and green capsicum. Frankie and Dougie just see capsicum as food because at any time we are in the kitchen they switch into their own versions of eating machines.

What I find fascinating is that although the task is the same i.e entice the capsicum from the food preparation human and then eat the capsicum, both Frankie and Dougie have very different approaches to the task.

Here’s Frankies

A rather boisterous approach to the task one would say. Always alert and on watch, dive straight in head first, ready to pounce and be at the front of the charge. Get in and get the job done. Surely in another time he was a fearless general of an army who set about conquering all before him. That’s our Frankie.

And then there’s Dougie

A little more laid back one thinks. No need to jump quickly, just take some time, sum up the situation and get the task done. I wonder at times about Dougie’s former life surely as a cold-blooded animal that needed some sun in order to start to move.

Now I overlay this to the workplace, and particularly how Managers spend a lot of time focussing on embedding a particular work-style (usually theirs) across their teams. You know the old adage of “Well I’m successful so everyone should work just like I do.”

Same species so same approach seems to win at work, particularly when hierarchy, abused power and bureaucracy interfere.

Here’s a great question I started to introduce to my last team; one that gave permission for them as individuals to display their own unique approach to tasks:

What’s Your Work-style Preference?

The purpose was simple.

Even though we are the same species if you like, Humans thrive when and only when you allow them to be themselves, to practice their own unique approach to getting the job done.

Some might say give me some direction, others might say I love to work autonomously, I want to lead the way, I’m one for sitting back and summing up before I act, I do my best work when my manager gives me regular feedback or praise for a good job really motivates me to do more.

The strange thing is that I’ve never heard another human say “I want to be micro-managed” but damn Managers are so good at that!!!! Keep it all under control and manage them to an inch of their lives. demotivating anyone?

So remember that just like Frankie and Dougie you have the same species in your workplace with very different approaches to achieving the same task based upon their work-style preference.

Give them permission to do this and watch them thrive.

Frankie and Dougie both achieved their task; just in a different way.

How are you allowing the humans in your care to approach tasks?

What’s the current capsicum at work and are you trying to get your humans to all eat in the same way?

Footnote: according to, capsicum or peppers as they are known are safe for dogs to eat, in fact they can even be quite nutritionally beneficial just like they are for humans, as they are low in calories which make them a great, healthy treat. No weiner dogs were harmed in the production of this blog post.

Mark LeBusque is the Human Manager. He has a strong track record in helping clients add more Human to their business and drive up Happiness, Engagement and Business Results (in that order).