We inherently like spending time with people who think like us, and maybe even act and look like us. It’s easy, comfortable and fun to be with people who understand where we are coming from and share our interests. As well, it builds our confidence to have others we respect tell us they think we are right.
The problem is that hanging around only with “like-minded” people makes us vulnerable: vulnerable to “group think” and to missing the contra-indications and clues that can strengthen us and perhaps even reshape our thinking. Though it is tempting to take the easy way, it won’t make you the best leader you can be.
As leaders, there is a real and present danger to surrounding ourselves with “yes men”. Only by hearing the naysayers and the other side of the argument can we be sure of what “doing the right thing” means. At a minimum, it makes our thinking and ideas more resilient.
Pressure-test your ideas, understand how to address the counter case, and stay open to hearing other points of view. The most effective leaders invite people to express their views, including those contrary to their own. This is how we learn, and it is key to leadership success
So, the next time you hear or see the term “like-minded”, take a moment to think – preferably, to think differently.