Canadian Lawyer InHouse

December/January 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 37 their thought processes and be ready to acquire knowledge from multiple sources and environments. Consequently, leaders need to be prepared to challenge their assump- tions and expectations when building their teams. Acknowledge the potential for bias, because we all have it to varying degrees. Actively seek diversity of experience, background, ethnicity, age and gender (and all forms of diversity) when forming teams and work groups. Recognize that the person at work who really annoys you is often the person you need to spend more time with. Why? Because the source of tension comes from their seeing the world differently than you, and this challenge to your frame of reference is good for your thought processes. Invite other people into the decision- making process who can shift and provide alternate perspectives. Build on strengths As part of this approach, leaders need to understand and then leverage the strengths Improve decision-making Homogeneity can negatively impact how decisions are made. The more alike people are, the more likely they are to think along the same lines; therefore, there is less room for debate, discernment and disagreement. Separate research from Kellogg University found that diverse teams make better decisions. And that diversity isn't just about gender or ethnicity — it also includes age, experience and background. The diverse groups outperformed the more homogeneous groups, not because of an influx of new ideas but because the diversity triggered more careful processing of the information that was discussed. Complex problem-solving and critical thinking are the top two competencies that the World Economic Forum has identified as crucial to surviving in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This involves challenge, explora- tion, suspending judgment and being equipped with the cognitive capacity to look at problems in a different way — all of which is aided by having a diverse workforce. Successful, sustainable organizations recognize the need to equip their workforce with the capability and capacity to dig deeper into the mental models that drive Michelle Gibbings is the founder of Change Meridian and works with leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is also the author of Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work and Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career. For more information, visit michellegibbings.com. of their team. Research conducted over the last 30 years shows that taking a strengths- based approach leads to greater work satisfaction, engagement and productivity. This is evidenced in the Tom Rath and Barry Conchie book Strengths Based Leadership, where they detail how working with strengths helps leaders be more effective. Leaders play a crucial role in bringing strengths to life at work — for both them- selves and their team members. It starts with the leader understanding their own strengths and how they are best used at work. The next step is to help team members appreciate the strengths they bring to their role and recognize and value the strengths their colleagues bring to their roles. This is best done through a series of team development activities, which will help team members understand and leverage their individual and collective strengths.

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