Over time, I’ve come realize that leaders can easily succumb to a disease called “Mindless Mingling.”
Mindless mingling occurs when the thinking life of a leader experiences a deficit because of limited knowledge capital or a limited relational network. In other words, how I think is limited by what I know, who I know or who I listen to.
I become “mind-less” because I “mingle” with the same people and draw from the same pool of knowledge.
Mindless mingling is characterized by two truths:
Truth #1: Leaders are conflicted with thoughtless action.
One strength many leaders possess is the ability to intuitively make decisions. They don’t always have to stop and think about what to do in a given situation. They simply act on their intuition—which is often dead on.
So where does the conflict come in? Because leaders don’t have to think, they often don’t. In other words, because leaders are action-oriented, they have difficulty slowing down to reflect, evaluate and think carefully about the situation before them. I’ve heard seasoned leaders state that the longer you lead, the more important it becomes to set aside “think time.” For action-oriented leaders, think time feels like a waste of time. They ask, “Why do I need to set aside think time when I can make decisions that are usually right?” The reason is because of truth #2.
Truth #2: People in general, including leaders, prefer being with like-minded people.
There’s nothing profound about that truth, so let me put it into context by sharing a quote from author and pastor, Andy Stanley: “If you are surrounded long enough by people who think like you think, you will become more and more certain that’s the best way to think.”
This is where thoughtless action gets leaders into trouble. Action-based leadership becomes so routine that you no longer stop to think whether or not your actions reflect best practices. The only way you will know will be to intentionally stop and set aside some quality “think time.”
Three Ideas to Help You Set Aside “Think Time” to Overcome “Mindless Mingling”: