One of the criterions of success in constructively working together in a team of leaders is to acknowledge and utilize each other´s differences. How do you do that?
On utilizing differences that do not exist to us
According to Daniel Kähnemann, a nobel prize winner in economics and the author of the book “Thinking fast and slow”, a perfectly normal human mechanism is “what you see is all there is”. We see and acknowledge only what our personally toned glasses will allow. The rest is basically invisible to us.
This means that we are always prone to miss out on certain strengths and weaknesses in a given situation, decision or relation. We become insensitive to some of the threats involved as well as to some of the opportunities. And if we are alerted to them we might still dismiss them, even if we know (in theory) that there are perspectives and truths other than our own.
So, if we want to utilize each other´s differences we have to give in to something that, to begin with, does not actually exist to us.
It takes trust!
A story about a team with no prior attachments
It is right after a thorough organizational change of seats in a big company. The rotation has been implemented along with a decision by the top direction to change the leadership paradigm. A newly established group of team leaders now need to turn their part of the organization in a new direction using a new paradigm.
They are all very knowledgeable in the field. They are all experienced leaders. They are used to trusting their guts and themselves.
They decide to park their attachments to (i.e. their pride in) their own personal ways of doing things somewhere outside and instead trust the new organization, the new paradigm and the different views on the new reality and relevant means of action belonging to the others.
They discover that by choosing to let go of attachment to their own accustomed ideas and conceptions and instead trusting each other´s different perspectives and propositions they are each overcoming the mechanism of “what you see is all there is”.
This means that the entire group will gain more insight and will be better capable of navigating the new structure of the organization and the new leadership paradigm in a way that is not contained by the old habits of thinking and acting.
The key is trust and curiosity
When you decide to trust what is seen and recognized by the others in your leader team even if you cannot see it yourself, you will access so many more perspectives on history, situation and goals.
But you need – each of you – to trust the integrity of other perspectives.
What about your leader team?
Have you chosen trust?
Have you chosen to be open and curious far beyond your personal understanding and comfort?