“I often say that if there is someone who really annoys you at work, they’re the person you need to spend more time with,” says Michelle Gibbings, founder and managing director of Change Meridian.
“The reason I say that is because they think differently to you and that’s why they annoy you – but someone who thinks differently to you is good because they will challenge how you see the world and they will challenge you to think about the way you process information,” she explains.
Formerly the director of change for AMP, Gibbings has held a raft of senior HR positions during her career and says one of the keys to success is being able to constantly challenge your own way of thinking – or at least have other people do it for you.
“It’s good to have people around you who won’t just agree with you and having that person who is the voice of challenge is really good,” she tells HRD.
Gibbings – who has worked as a corporate advisor for major names such as Westpac, Mercer, and Commonwealth Bank – says including people with different thought processes and opinions is just another important strand to workplace diversity.
“We often talk about the importance of diversity but diversity isn’t just about the need for different genders or races, it’s about having people who process information in a different way,” says Gibbings.
“Research shows that diverse teams process information differently which is why they end up with better decisions and better outcomes overall.”
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A prominent executive coach has urged HR professionals and other senior leaders to spend more time with their most annoying colleagues, saying it could actually do wonders for their career and company.