As we go about our busy lives, demands on our time and attention pull us in many different directions. We switch back and forth between various roles: executive, father, team member, coach, brother, colleague, etc. It happens continuously.
In the 90’s, my afternoon commute served as a transition period between my professional and personal lives. It wasn’t always easy, but listening to loud rock and roll in the car on the way to pick up my son from daycare seemed to help.
Imagine an actor in a play, switching costumes and characters several times during her performance. It’s difficult at first, but with practice she’s able to make the transitions quite smoothly. The audience marvels when she shows up on stage as a completely different character.
Our global, always-on business environment is teaching us to switch gears more quickly and eventually with less difficulty. But we shouldn’t leave behind the skills and perspectives we use in one role just because we switch to another.
For example, the negotiation skills we develop at work can be applied to other roles we play outside of work. But it doesn’t end there. We also have perspectives that can enhance a team’s ability to see situations from various angles they may not have considered. Relying on the team leader’s emotional intelligence to bring in outside perspectives is not enough.
Diversity in perspective is part of what makes a regular team a high-performance team. You may have a specific area of expertise but you also have valuable perspectives that others might not have. Bring them with you, but be ready to compromise.