If we want to be change agents, we need to have some degree of weirdness. When I say “change agents,” I mean being willing to make a difference and make the world a better place. Change agents are committed to contributing to society by bringing awareness of issues they consider essential by teaching, advocating, leading, or simply being role models to people around them.
My work focuses on Leadership Development. I work with leaders, coaches, and professionals who engage in activities that require challenging their mindsets, paradigms, and conventional beliefs — and questioning the status quo and resistance to change in their organizations.
My clients and I are committed to achieving organizational, team, and personal goals and enhancing satisfaction and wellbeing in all systems we are part of. To efficiently do this work, we need to have some degree of “weirdness.” In this context, the word “weird” means different, unique, or eccentric. Iconoclastic or idiosyncratic behaviors also come under the umbrella of being weird. Some examples include coloring the hair, wearing a bright-colored shirt, or saying something controversial that surprises people.
Jonno Hanafin’s Perceived Weirdness Index (PWI) is helpful in this matter. He suggests that weirdness is essential for Organizational Development Consultants to challenge the status quo, which requires awareness, intent, and timing. He also considers “presence” key to intervening in organizations effectively. According to Jonno Hanafin, credibility is a prerequisite to challenging the systems. You may damage relationships if people don´t see you as competent before you behave in ways that are not expected to challenge them.
Coming back to you, how weird are you? Do you follow all the rules to the letter? Do you behave consistently in the way people expect you to behave? Are you predictable? Do you always look for a safer way to respond to situations? Or, are you willing to take risks? What would happen if you suddenly start acting “different”?
That said, going overboard has negative repercussions too. Therefore, the idea is to be unique but have some boundaries to avoid making people feel uncomfortable to a degree that would produce rejection. Otherwise, people will stop engaging with us altogether.
In my case, my accent is one of the ways that makes me unique. To understand what I am saying, you need to pay more attention. Fun fact: sometimes, I also may have a hard time understanding what I am saying when I listen to myself in recordings.
But this is one of the ways I am unique. Some people like my accent and find it charming, whereas some don’t like it at all. Sometimes, people who don’t know me don’t even try to understand what I am saying. When I start teaching and people don´t know me, I may see some panic-stricken faces. Eventually, people get used to my way of speaking. At the end of the day, most people get the message I am trying to convey. However, I am sure that when they hear my voice in their minds, they hear my accent.
I also like being controversial when appropriate. For example, in my leadership development training, I would say that people often consider colleagues as “objects” and use them to accomplish their personal or organizational goals rather than seeing them as human beings with unique dreams and needs.
Today, I would like to invite you to embrace the weird, different, and unique. Being weird is one way to being memorable, and this means doing something people may not expect or saying the unusual but authentic!