How to fit in

When I was young fitting in meant becoming what others expected. Now I know, fitting in requires knowing yourself not losing yourself.

Leaders and managers who help people fit in create dynamic organizations. But pressure to fit in from immature leaders prevents people from standing out. In those organizations, stand out and you’re out.

Organizations and leaders who demand conformity resemble immature adolescence; they can’t stop thinking about themselves. They cry out, “Love me.”

Outstanding leaders call people to
fit in and stand out.

If all you do is fit in, you’re mediocre. If all you do is stand out, you’re on your own.

Help people fit in by:

  • Clearly articulating organizational values, mission, and vision?
  • Helping people fit into organizational values and vision? You hired people for the mission.
  • Understanding the dynamic of adapting? More adaptation translates into less passion.
  • Explaining where you require alignment? Are you communicating that up front?
  • Expecting high performance once people understand how they fit in.

Help people stand out by:

  • Working to understand their values, hopes, and goals.
  • Connecting their values and vision with organizational value and vision.
  • Giving choices rather than making demands.
  • Establishing career and opportunity paths.
  • Developing their skills and exposing their blind spots.
  • Helping people fit enables them to stand out.


Standing out hinges on how people interact with their environment, colleagues, and clients. Everyone wants to succeed. Helping people remove attitudes and behaviors that hinder their potential often creates greater success.

What can leaders do to help see how they fit in?

What can leaders do to help people stand out?

Text adapted from The Leadership Freak.