How To Use The Uniqueness Principle To Become A Better Leader

Unique Business

People want to be part of something unique. Use this desire to your advantage.

People like to feel special.

We like to believe that we are individuals—that we are not one of seven billion but one in seven billion, that we possess certain qualities that set us apart from the rest of our fellow humans.

As a business leader, the desire to be unique can be used to your advantage. For purposes of leadership and communication this is known as The Uniqueness Principle.

This principle states that people are more likely to do something if they view the idea, concept or themselves as unique. (tweet this)

As consumers, we are attracted to products that we see as exclusive, special, limited in quantity.

In a business setting, employees are drawn to leaders perceived to be unique or to leaders that make the employees feel unique.

As a business executive, succeeding as a leader requires using The Uniqueness Principle to motivate employees. You want each individual on your team to feel that they are going to be contributing to something truly unique, something that will set them apart.

There are many ways to accomplish this. Let’s review a few. 

How to apply the uniqueness principle

So many organisations are the same. When one company has success there are hundreds that try to copy everything about that company.

It’s difficult to lead a copycat company. People don’t want to be part of something that’s been done before. Well, they might be part of it, but they won’t be intrinsically motivated to succeed when working for a company that lacks uniqueness.

A popular example of this is the people that worked at Apple for Steve Jobs. The Apple CEO was not known for being one of the nicest bosses in the world. In fact, he was extremely demanding, degrading and at times offensive to his employees.

Steve Jobs drove many of his employees crazy, but the best people in the world wanted to work for him and for Apple.


Apple was a unique company. They worked on unique products. Steve Jobs was a unique leader that got the best out of his team.

Now, you don’t have to insult your employees to be unique. In fact, that’s not recommended. Steve Jobs could pull it off, but when most people attempt it there is backlash.

Instead, focus on the unique aspect of what your company is doing. It might be a product. It could be the process you use to provide a service. It can even be the unique culture of your company.

These are all things that appeal to people.

For example, Zappos has a unique culture focused on support. The company focuses on support to an extreme level. They go way beyond normal business standards for support.

The result?

People will work for Zappos for below market wages because they want to be part of something unique.

Unique products

It is rare to find—or create—a product that is 100% new and different. Many new products today are merely improvements on slightly older ones. Many services are similar to something that you could find offered elsewhere.

Even the Apple iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone or handheld computing device. What set the iPhone apart were the intuitive nature of the software and the design of the device itself.

If you feel you have a different product than the competition you can convince your team to work hard and achieve success.

Focus on the aspect that sets you—and your product—apart. There is a reason that you believe in it, in its value—and that is what you must convey to the customer or client.

What is it that sets your product or service apart from those that are similar to it?

What is it that makes your business special, makes it unique?

If you can show the customer that what you have to offer is not like anything else on the market, you’ll go a long way in enticing them to buy.

You don’t have to be over-the-top unique

It’s important to emphasise that the unique factor of you and your company may be one small item that sets you apart from others.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your “uniqueness factor” is—what matters is that team members recognise it.

Your job as the leader is to the aspect that is unique. Explain how your company is different or how it is doing something different from the competition.

If you’ve ever watched sports films you’ve seen coaches give speeches to teams. These speeches often get right to the points that make a team different from the other teams.

A coach will say something like:

“They haven’t worked as hard as us.”

“They haven’t been through the hardships we’ve been through.”

“You’ve prepared more than them. You’re ready to win.”

This is leadership. Coaches possess some of the best communication skills of any leader. They know how to motivation individuals.

As a business leader, it’s your task to communicate the unique aspects of your business to motivation individuals to commit everything they can give to your organisation.

Being a unique leader

People have the need to feel unique.

It’s a paradox, but we want to be part of something unique.

In sports, teams that win often feel like they are part of something special. Even the fans of that sports team feel like they are part of something unique. The team members work as hard as they can because they feel they are doing certain things that are different than the opponents.

Steve Jobs was a jerk to his employees, but the best people worked hard for him because they felt they were doing something unique. (tweet this)

Companies like Apple and Zappos are unique. They aren’t unique in every way. Often, they’re unique in one or just a few ways.

Being an effective leader means communicating the unique aspect of your company. If you succeed with these communication skills your team members will follow you and work as hard as they can.

That will lead to success.

And with that success you’ll be a unique leader.

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  • Matthew Grove

    Great Article I really enjoyed it. Virgin companies often have that same unique feeling and so does Sir RB.

    • Darren Fleming

      Thanks Matt. Yes Virgin is a great company. I’ll have to look to them to find a few articles to speak about what they do.

      Thanks for stopping by.



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