Leaders value the gift of contrarians and resistors

Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40, was one of the speakers at WorldBlu Live. He went through his 10 characteristics of leadership, and one of the stayed with me:

Leaders value the gift of contrarians and resistors

This is something I’v struggled with. I’ve always hated resistors and contrarians. “Come on, see that I’m right, don’t fight me, don’t resist, it gets so tiresome.”

But the truth is that I resist new ideas things at first very often - if not most of the time. It’s a completely healthy and natural tendency of the human mind to resist new ideas. Kind of like an immune system of the mind.

And when I’ve gotten past my resistance to something new and have taken it to heart, I’d be doing a disservice to others if I didn’t take the time to be patient with them.

But there are other good reasons to value contrarians and resistors:

  • They might have a point
  • I can be pretty sure the areas where I hate resistors the most is where I still have parts of me that resist an idea. Where I fully own something, it’s easier to cope with resistors.
  • When I’m not valuing them, I’m just resisting their resistance, so I’m not being a hair better than they are
  • When you resist their resistance, it just grows stronger

By actively valuing the gift of contrarians and resistors, you’re flipping the whole thing on its head, and opening yourself up to seeing their resistance from a different perspective, and to meet them from a different place, where it is allowed to be, it can be acknowledged, and can slowly dissolve on its own.

So value contrarians and resistors.


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