“Diversity trumps ability” as a sufficiently diverse, large group of non-experts often outperforms a small group of experts,” found Future Perfect author Steven Johnson. In our increasingly complex, disruptive world, we will face more situations where we can benefit from calling on the so-called wisdom of the crowd. Thus it behooves us to have colleagues with very different work and life experiences, and from diverse professions and industries. Be aware of the mitigating problems of “social influence” so you can sidestep them.
Secondarily, as a connective leader, hone your capacity to recruit and involve them to support you, as you would support them, and to work together around sweet spots of mutual interest. With that diverse network of trusted colleagues you are more able to recruit people who can see a situation from varied perspectives. Plus, when you want to attract attention and support you can recruit unexpected allies to be more compelling and credible.
Enjoy Two Bonus Benefits
• Spending time with those you respect bolsters, in you, the traits you most admire in them.
• Interconnectedness increases your frequency of serendipitous encounters and unexpected insights that strengthen your capacity to be a well-rounded leader and to foster faster innovation. Connective leaders become the glue that holds diverse people together around those sweet spots of shared interest.
1. Sought-after Leaders Today Are, By Nature, Connective
Connective leaders become the glue that holds diverse people together around those sweet spots of shared interest. They make sure that all the members know exactly why they are involved and what they bring to the table. Looking back on our lives, these experiences will be some of the most memorable.
“Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders,” said Tom Peters. In our increasingly complex yet connected world, those who can “flex” behaviors to become the glue that holds diverse teams and new initiatives together will probably become our most valued leaders and partners.
Tip: Become an Opportunity Maker who can recruit the right mix of people in different professions and industries to tackle problems or capture opportunities related to your top interest and talent.
2. Recognizing Your Many Facets Makes You More Nimble and Constructive
“Complex selves are good for coping with diversity. The more facets you have, the more tools you have to deal with a variety of circumstances,” finds psychologist Patricia Linville. When you appreciate your own complexity, your default assumption about people on the other side of the cultural divide is not that they’re incompetent, uncaring or evil. Instead, your first guess is that they are operating according to different cultural cycles.
Tip: When someone does something to which you have a strong negative or a positive response, remember they may have a different reason for acting that way than you would have if you did the same thing. Look further to see an underlying pattern so you can glimpse their “operating system” and then lead them in ways they will want to follow. Hint: Redesign your life around a mutuality mindset, so you seek sweet spots of mutual interest in more situations. That may be your straightest path toward cultivating the diverse relationships that enable you to recruit the right team to solve a problem or seize an opportunity faster and better. Connective leaders thus become Opportunity Makers, with and for others.