Why you should embrace the differences in your leadership team

by MPA28 Jul 2014
By David Lykken
Special to MPA

Chances are, when you're assembling and developing your executive team, you will notice that each leader will have differences. Because they are in positions of leadership, they will probably be a little strong-willed. Therefore, not only will they have differences, but they will also be more pronounced.
While differences can create problems, they can also create growth. It's actually a good idea to have people on your leadership team who openly and regularly disagree with one another. The kite, as it has been said, rises against the wind and not with it.
You are more likely to achieve growth with a team of people who have conflicting opinions than with a team of "yes men." When leaders agree on everything, it breeds complacency. Disagreement, on the other hand, can give your team the push to set things in motion and move the organization forward.

David Lykken is 40-year industry veteran who has been an owner operator of three mortgage banking companies and a software company. As co-founder and Managing Partner of Mortgage Banking Solutions, David consults on virtually all aspects of mortgage banking with special emphasis executive leadership development, corporate strategic direction and implementation as well as mergers & acquisitions. A regular contributor on CNBC and Fox Business News, David also hosts a successful weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” (www.LykkenOnLending.com) that is heard each Monday at noon (Central Standard Time) by thousands of mortgage professionals. Recently he started producing a 1-minute video called “Today’s Mortgage Minute” that appears on hundreds of television, radio and newspaper websites daily across America.


  • by Stewart Liff | 7/29/2014 2:06:41 PM

    We are the authors of A Team of Leaders, a book that explains how to build high performing teams of leaders where everyone steps up and provides leadership. We fully agree with your premise that diversity is a good thing within leadership teams, or for that matter, within any teams.

    Two points we’d like to make. First of all, high performing teams value the differences in expertise among their members. Less experienced members will learn from the more experienced members and thus grow more quickly. In addition, sometimes people who are less experienced will not have the mindset that, “that’s the way we’ve always done things,” and as such may be more likely to question the status quo.

    Secondly, team members tend to process things differently because they have different learning styles. For example, some may be more right-brain dominant, meaning they tend to be more expressive and creative, more intuitive and look at things more holistically. Other may be more left-brain dominant, resulting in their preferring data, being more logical and focusing on the bottom line. Teams that can leverage all of its members’ learning styles will definitely have an edge over more homogeneous teams.

    Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff


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