I was recently reminded of a dangerous trap that’s easy to fall into, and that trap is hanging around with like-minded people.
This came up when I joined a mastermind recently with other entrepreneurs. On our introductory call, one of the members said, “I am so glad to be with other like-minded people”.
Well, my brain just went, “WHAT?!”
I think she meant people with shared goals, which is great. But ‘like-minded’, do you know what it actually means? It means people that have similar opinions and interests to your own.
Learning And Growing Is The Name Of The Game
I’ve been around the block enough to know that it does not serve me well to hang around with people that are like-minded all the time.
In fact, it serves me well to hang out with people with great minds, with open minds – who have different views, opinions, interests, experiences to my own – because that is how I’m going to learn and grow. And learning and growing is the name of the game.
I’m going to give you five reasons why it’s dangerous, particularly for a leader and the organization, to hang around with like-minded people.
But first, I’d like to acknowledge that there are lots of positive things about hanging out with like-minded people.
- You get to be right more of the time, and we all like to be right. Our egos love being right.
- There is less conflict so you’re not having to manage difficult conversations, difficult people.
- It’s fun! You can riff off each other’s comments, talk in shorthand. It’s like my daughter and her friends who like film so much – they just chat away; it’s really fun.
- It’s safe and secure. You don’t have to worry that people are going to misunderstand what you’ve said because everybody is coming from the same place.
These are a recipe for choosing people to go on vacation with and people to have a fun dinner with. But when it comes to being a leader in an organization, like-mindedness is really dangerous. Here are five reasons why that’s the case.
5 Reasons Why Like-Mindedness Is Dangerous
To really be creative, you need to have what they call ‘creative abrasion’. This is where people with different perspectives, interests and backgrounds are all rubbing to get to the better, more innovative, more creative ideas and actions.
We’ve all heard about ‘group-think’. When everybody has similar opinions, interests and backgrounds, we’re going to get group-think. Now, that will make it easier to make fast decisions, because everybody agrees, but are they going to be the right decisions?
To have resilience, both for yourself and your organization, you need to be pressure-tested. It requires that there are people challenging each other’s ideas, and that won’t happen if you’re all like-minded.
4. Out of touch
It means that you’re more likely to be out of touch, as an individual and as an organization. You start all thinking alike. You become distant and removed, and that’s not a good thing when you’re a leader.
5. Stunts your growth
You might even become dull and, Heaven forbid, small-minded. You know what small-minded means? It means people who have a narrow outlook and rigid opinions. That can happen when you’re regularly grooving those same opinions and everybody is agreeing and reinforcing each other.
What A Great Leader Does
A great leader is someone who:
- Can take people from different interest groups, with different opinions, and have them see a common goal and then get them to collaborate toward achieving that common goal.
- Connects with all the people across the organization, not just the ones that they agree with, or who agree with them.
- Builds relationships with all stakeholders.
- Is secure enough to be open to being challenged on their ideas and even to be wrong some of the time.
- Is confident enough to get out of that like-minded comfort zone and into a zone where they’re going to be able to learn, grow and make a bigger difference.
So, when it comes to your career and your business, I want you to stop hanging out with just those like-minded people. Start giving yourself a chance to get out there, be a better leader and live a richer, more meaningful life.
I’d love to hear what you think, so scroll on down and leave a comment below.