Style is not Ability

People and institutions tend to value other people and institutions like themselves. The result is that we tend to see as higher in ability those who are like us. As a result, many children as well as adults are never appreciated for what they are, but rather for how they fit into the stylistic pattern of the evaluator.

There are those who look for and appreciate only others like themselves, and there are those who look for quality, whether or not it is the same kind of quality they have to offer. We will better utilize other people’s talents, and better help them develop, if we recognize people for their own stylistic strengths, rather than for what we might ideally like them to be.

Robert Sternberg, Thinking Styles