I didn’t fully understand the value of diversity until recently. My perception of the topic was influenced by its often partnered value: inclusion. With that association, it was too easy for me not to realize the full meaning of diversity. Luckily, I work in an institution of higher education that values diversity.
First, yes, I do value diversity and inclusion. This topic is about the aspect of diversity I did not realize was so from a leadership perspective.
Here is my link on diversity to leadership and success. As a successful leader, you have developed tools and methods to achieve your goals. You are practiced in the art of setting objectives and having others make good on those objectives. You can get used to succeeding. You have a track record of success. You implement processes and tools. You deal with challenges and overcome them. All the while getting better and stronger at what you do. Success can be intoxicating. That’s when to look out.
There is a risk involved and that is a blindness to the observable. Why? Possibly because of confirmation bias. This is why you need diversity. Surrounding yourself with people (and opinions) from different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view helps fill the gaps that you may have. This is especially so in the public sector where the judgment of your work may be far-reaching and come from areas not necessarily known to you.
Of course, there are examples that completely demolish this advice. Today’s political climate and discourse for example. Steve Jobs is legendary in pushing forward his particular point of view and steamrolling others. (I’m making this up about Jobs and referring only to his legend without specific knowledge).
Unless you plan on being a cult of personality or a transformative revolutionary, my advice stands.