(1 minute read)
“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him.” (Abraham Lincoln)
Consider your responses to the following scenarios.
- When you fold your arms, does your left or right arm go on top?
- When you seal the bread bag, do you hold the bottom of the bag and twist the top, or vice-versa?
- If stepping over a puddle, would you lead with your left or right leg?
- While commuting, do you prefer to listen to music, podcasts, news, or nothing?
Your responses to the above questions simply reveal your preferences in each of these situations. To place judgements upon them – i.e., one method is better than another – would begin to identify some inner bias about how things should be done, or how the world should be organised according to you.
“If you limit your relationships in business to people who are just like you, your business potential is severely limited.” (Martin Zwilling)
The business world is becoming more of a global space, which requires that we learn to understand people of different generations, cultures, points of view, and priorities.
Today, and in the immediate future, business and social networks will incorporate greater diversity, challenging individuals with more fixed beliefs or preferences.
There is a genuine upside to individuals, teams and businesses who embrace this diversity.
So, how can individuals and teams access this ‘superpower’ of team diversity?
- Actively build relationships with people who are different to you. Only by first understanding their differences can you appreciate what others bring to the table, even if it is contrary to your view.
- Look for commonalities, while appreciating the differences. If you’re on the lookout for differences, you’re sure to find them. Seek things you have in common (including a common purpose in the workplace) and celebrate them, while respecting the differences you share.
- Identify the strengths in people. The strength of any team is dependant upon the relative strengths of the individuals within.
- Let go of the ‘need to be right’. Only when you adjust your lens can you accept that there may be many other great ideas out there, other than your own.
People with different competencies and different perspectives from your own can ultimately lead to better decisions and innovation, creating win-win outcomes for all involved.
“When everyone is thinking the same, no-one is thinking.” (John Wooden)