“In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.” ~ Richard Baxter
Credibility is built on common ground. Until you have something in common with someone else, you will not be able to achieve any credibility with them. We naturally look with suspicion at those who are “uncommon” to us. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to find common ground. In fact, in many cases, we have to get on the other person’s turf before we can discover where our common ground is with them. Don’t wait for the other person to find common ground with you. As a leader, go first and initiate the processes of finding common ground with them.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When you make the extra effort to accommodate others in finding common ground, people will feel valued by you. But there is one major caution. Never compromise your values or beliefs in order to create common ground that doesn’t naturally exist. Many times you will have to give up something, but be sure you are giving up “preferences’ and not “priorities” in your quest for common ground. People will always respect you for staying true to who you are. The Apostle Paul said his “joy was made complete” when he saw people moving in unity toward a common purpose.
…make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (Philippians 2:2 NASB)
Common ground serves as the foundation for building a diversified team. You may have people from different backgrounds, with various skill sets, interests and personalities, but when they come together to contribute to a unified purpose, you have synergy. The key to building this type of team is to focus on what you have in common and build on that. Everyone has to be working toward the same goal.
Always minimize the differences in your preferences and be sure to maximize the alignment of your priorities around your values and beliefs. This is where the role of a good leader is essential. Leaders bring people together in order to move them toward a common goal. As the team begins working together, they will appreciate the synergy that is created by the variety of skills working in a unified fashion.
Great leaders have the capacity to bring a group of people with diverse skills and abilities together, in order to accomplish more than they could have ever done separately. When you see people with differing gifts, personalities and abilities, unified around a common purpose, it’s what the Apostle Paul would describe as pure joy. Be a leader who looks for common ground, and start building something great.
Take time today to discover common ground with those you work with. Let them know how much you appreciate what they bring to the team. You can build amazing things when you start on a foundation of common ground.