Diverse Strengths: Through Discomfort Comes Growth

Have you ever had a frustrating moment at work where you just can’t seem to agree with coworkers over a business decision? You’re making great points, yet they just don’t budge.  Most likely, you’re not wrong, but your coworker is likely not wrong either. As long as you’re listening to one-another (which is a key point), this is actually a good thing. It’s a sign of a balanced team with diverse strengths.

Value in diverse strengths

A diverse team has individuals that run a full spectrum of personalities, skills, and backgrounds. For that reason, you’ll likely find someone on the team with whom you just cannot see eye-to-eye. But the flip side is that it likely makes your team stronger.

Think about it. We most often get along best with other like-minded people. So if we’re best friends with everyone on the team, it likely means we’re working on a team of people just like ourselves. Unfortunately, this also means the majority of the team members have the same skills and strengths. A creative team is always more effective when there’s at least one or two more Type A personalities on the team. A team of all Type A personalities will be lacking if there’s no more creative, right-brained person.

We won’t all see eye-to-eye on things, but sometimes that’s good. We all have our blind spots, so to speak. And someone with that opposite strength is just what we need to illuminate a blind spot that otherwise could go unnoticed.

As long as we all listen

So that’s really the big catch, as alluded to earlier. It’s really helpful to have someone who asks questions and plays devil’s advocate. I don’t think any of us enjoy those conversations. Regardless, they really do help to fill in the gaps of whatever our plan happens to be, and this is almost always in the best interest of the business.

It becomes challenging, however, when listening stops. Being the ostrich who buries their head in the sand and refuses to listen or negotiate is not the same thing as the person who listens fully but still stands their ground.

It can be easy to become the ostrich. One of my best methods of fighting it has been to remind myself of how much I don’t know. It opens me up to listening to others, and it’s in that space where I’m really able to learn. Otherwise, I fall into that mode where I don’t listen to what the other person is saying. Instead, I’m just waiting for them to stop talking so I can reinforce my point.

In the end, no matter how brilliant we all are, we have to embrace each other’s strengths and act collectively. This is how the business (and the team) will ultimately come out on the winning side.

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist