The best leaders know that good business leadership means surrounding yourself with a diverse team. Abraham Lincoln did when he included his enemies in his Cabinet. He knew that having diverse points of view would keep him sharp by challenging his point of view.
There’s another advantage of assembling a diverse team, however. With that diversity, you get a wider range of expertise and skills. To illustrate this point, we can turn to Marvel Comics’ Avengers.
What can The Avengers teach us about business leadership?
Each superhero on The Avengers team is impressive in his or her own right. Yet together as a team, they’re even better.
Captain America enjoys peak physical performance and incredible endurance, but he lacks the marksmanship of Hawkeye. Hawkeye is an unusually proficient pilot, yet he’s not resistant to injury, like Thor. And none of them are as smart as Ironman or as strong as the Hulk.
Believe it or not, it works the same way in the office. What skills you lack, your teammate can offer and vice versa. And at the C-level, it’s an even more relevant concept that the best leaders know to tap into.
The best leaders seek out diversity.
It may not be how you would think business leaders should form their executive teams: with people who are smarter than they are, or who perform better (in certain areas). After all, being the leader means being the best, right? And people who are smarter or better than you are present a challenge to your authority, right?
Abraham Lincoln didn’t think so, and neither do the best leaders.
Good leaders know they can’t be the best at everything. Only Superman can pull that one off! People who challenge your way of seeing things make you better, and as a team you’re unstoppable.
Strong teams have each other’s backs.
Finally, since we humans all have our unique limitations and weaknesses, a diverse team comes in handy here, too. Business leadership is about strength and competence, but no matter how strong and competent you are, you still have certain vulnerabilities.
With a diverse team, you can count on your team members to watch your back when those vulnerabilities have occasion to appear… just as the Avengers do for one another in the comic and in the movies.
Strong performers shouldn’t compete: they should combine talents, just like the Avengers do, and become unstoppable. That, in a nutshell, is how business leadership works, superhero-style.