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.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. By making the extra effort to accommodate others in order to find 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 with a unified purpose, you have a powerful team. The key to building this type of team is to focus on what you have in common and build on that. Minimize the differences in your preferences and be sure to make sure your priorities align 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. Great leaders have the skill to bring a group of people with diverse skills and abilities together in order to accomplish more than they could have 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 today, and start building something great.
“In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.” ~ Richard Baxter