For whatever reason, we tend to find the most comfort with those who are the most like us. That makes sense on some levels but if we limit ourselves to those types of circles we are missing out on some of our best opportunities for learning and broadening the ways we look at things.

The workplace really is one of the larger temptations to be this way. In social circles we often don’t mind a variety of personalities and dispositions because they tend to bring a variety of experiences into our lives. The workplace, however, can feel different. In an arena of our life where we are trying to be productive someone who thinks differently or approaches tasks differently often seems to just slow us down or get in the way of how we want to do something. We may feel we are being more productive or effective by isolating ourselves from these situations but in reality, we cut ourselves off from a rich source of learning and self-enrichment. Here are some of the ways developing an appreciation for those who think differently can enrich your work.

They think of things you won’t: All of us have strengths we bring to the table. Inevitably, those strengths become habits that ultimately become ruts in our thinking. When we realize in humility our way is not always the best way we begin to see the value of different approaches. Teammates who think differently will solve problems in ways that you would not have thought of often providing a better ultimate solution.

Will like tasks that you don’t: Most often you bring the most value in your work when you can have room to focus on priority work that leverages your particular strengths. A common mistake we tend to put off tasks that we don’t do well or enjoy. This plays out as a procrastination that disrupts our workflow. The beauty of working with people who are different is often the very tasks you feel you don’t do well or enjoy may be the favorite of someone you work with. Developing some “partnerships” of sorts where each of you focus on certain aspects of a project can both keep the work moving along and allow you to focus most on where you bring value to the work.

Help you develop appreciation for other gifts: An unhelpful disposition we all have doses of is over-appreciating things we value in ourselves and under-appreciating things we don’t do well. If we aren’t self-aware of this temptation we will miss out on building holistic teams and networks. As we spend more time around diverse skill sets and ways of thinking we ultimately begin to see the value in them and grow a proper appreciation for what they bring.

The fact is none of us can be the best at everything. We have to develop an attitude that makes rooms for a variety of gifts, skills, and opinions. Though they sometimes challenge the ways we might prefer to do something the larger perspectives will often solve problems you could not have on your own as well as likely provide overall solutions over the long run. What sometimes seems like gets in our way actually becomes the best way to be most effective and bring the most value to your work.

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