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Diverse teams are a lot of fun to work with since they provide fresh insights while also posing their own unique problems. Some team members respond well to constructive criticism, while others require caution. Some employees prefer to connect via email, while others prefer to discuss matters in person. We all have coworkers who are active contributors as well as silent, introverted listeners. The sheer variety of such personality types might present difficulties for any boss.
Today, we'll look at some expert advice on how to build seamless teams that leverage their diversity as a strength.
Develop an Emotional Quotient
Kat Boogaard, a writer for The Muse, a New York City-based online job platform, believes that managing a diverse workforce is always difficult because every human being is distinct and different. Andee Harris, Chief Engagement Officer of HR platform HighGround, encourages emotional intelligence—the capacity to recognize your own and other people's emotions. This, she believes, is a crucial talent for anyone in charge of a team.
If an employee seems reticent, for example, read between the lines and pick up on clues rather than waiting for everything to be openly expressed. Harris recommends that leaders delve deeply into their employees' personality types and treat them in the most effective ways. She believes that each employee has unique abilities, limitations, and motivators. Understanding what they are and how to use them will assist managers in finding solutions that work for everyone. According to Boogaard, deconstructing and comprehending various employees can often feel like "building IKEA furniture"—complicated and intimidating, but doable with time and care.
According to Harris, "knowing your employees' strengths will help you train them better." Knowing who they are and what is important to them will help you lead them better if they are struggling with a role, for example. You must also grasp what will make them feel intimidated." She claims she would never force an introverted employee to present something in front of the team without giving them enough notice. When it comes to management, "one size does not fit all." Harris argues that customization is essential.
Regular check-ins are beneficial.
According to Boogaard, frequent sit-downs and one-on-one check-ins are helpful ways to stay connected with teams and discuss current workloads, career objectives, and other professional concerns. Knowing something about employees' lives outside of the workplace can have a significant impact on working relationships and allow leaders to be sensitive to any personal difficulties that may be influencing their professional performance.
Encouragement, empathy, empowerment, and recognizing individual contributions all go a long way towards making different team members feel important, whether they are soft-spoken, shy individuals, or exuberant extroverts.
Conflict can be used to build something positive.
The authors of "The Team Formula," Mandy Flint and Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, contend that creative friction in a varied team may be exploited to generate a healthy, creative, and successful synergy that feeds on reciprocal learning and invention.
They go on to explain that cultural, linguistic, political, religious, personality, gender, value, and/or other types of differences exist.
Distinctions can also lead to conflict. One of the key reasons behind this is that when people believe they have the "correct" answer to a problem, they stop listening to other people's viewpoints, expertise, experience, and ideas... Yet, if we can perceive every difference as a creative force, a chance for learning, and better responses, we can make the most of the diverse perspectives they bring."
They explain that when teams operate in a highly competitive environment, they work in isolation, rarely coming together. Even those sessions devolved into ineffective "look at me" competitions in which colleagues critiqued each other's techniques and plans. When team members face and resolve conflict, they become stronger as a group.
"If there is no disagreement or looking at things differently, things simply remain the same," Flint and Vinberg-Hearn add, "and in a world that is always evolving, sustaining the status quo is simply not enough for a firm that wants to thrive." "Continuous innovation is required for survival."
They also provide some ways for turning opposing viewpoints into something constructive. Here are a few examples:
Demonstrate to your team that the "need to be correct" is harmful.
Remind yourself that your viewpoint or solution may not be the best or only one.
The first step in dealing with conflict is to embrace it rather than fear it.
When two or more people have opposing viewpoints, consider it a good thing and then take the best of both.
Encourage your team to ask questions and learn about each other's methods and plans. Invite and involve others in productive debates and exchanges.
Establish a happy environment in which everyone seeks out the good in one another.
Gather individuals around a common goal and encourage them to agree on a shared commitment to that goal.
If your team exhibits competitive behavior, linked goals will make that behavior impossible to maintain.
Determine what each person excels at and what their talents are. Make the most of them by getting to know them. This minimizes the possibility of harmful competition since people feel more unique and have less need for such competition.
Communication, communication, communication. Disagreements and tensions are frequently the result of a lack of employee communication as well as false and unneeded assumptions. To develop the correct climate, communicate honestly with your team at regular intervals as a leader.
Diversity is beneficial to the company.
Inc.com's Kirsten Blakemore and Mattson Newell say that a competitive edge can be gained by increasing and managing workplace diversity. "Decades of studies show that interacting with varied people stimulates us to push the customary bounds and think differently," they write in Scientific American. It promotes creativity and inventiveness. According to McKinsey, gender-diverse organizations are 15% more likely to outperform their peers, while ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their peers. Yet, many leaders talk the talk about diversity and inclusion, but far too few walk the walk. This is because recognizing the value of a diverse workforce" and mastering the art of diversity management" are two different things. Managers' biggest mistake, they go on, is using the same management approach with every employee.
This leads to poor management, which can have a detrimental impact on a firm, ranging from low morale to high turnover—the polar opposite of what a dynamic, well-managed, diversified staff can provide."
So, what is the key to diversity management? "Adapt your leadership style depending on the person or the situation....race, age, gender, or any number of attributes...," Blakemore and Newell suggest. Make your workforce distinctive; how you manage, inspire, and lead one person may not be the same way you manage, motivate, and lead another."
They claim that effectively managing workplace diversity begins with three key considerations:
2) Collaborative Creativity
3) Continuous Communication
How can we improve in these areas? Establish explicit corporate and department goals to set your team up for success. Explain what is required of them in order to meet those goals, and then allow them to work creatively on how to achieve them. Set milestones along the road to guarantee goal alignment. The goal of checkpoints is not to micromanage, but to provide constant assistance, keep the team on track, and remove roadblocks to success.
Continue to study and educate.
If you're trying to manage a team with a wide range of personalities, you shouldn't panic, according to Alica Forneret, who writes about the need of lifelong learning on Cultureamp.com.. Everyone needs to start somewhere, she says, and it's better to start now than later. Some of her advice includes the following:
1) While interacting with a team, keep intersectionality in mind and go beyond race, gender, age, sexual orientations, cultures, political affiliations, socioeconomic level, faiths, or physical ability.
2) Don't let your prejudices prevent you from seeing others.
3) Provide safe zones for all types of input.
4) Develop conflict resolution tactics.
5) Foster and teach respect for diverse needs, values, customs, and personal boundaries, all of which have an impact on teams with diverse members.
6) Make your staff aware of unconscious prejudices and employ cross-cultural coaches to bridge cultural gaps.
7) Recognize that everything you do has an impact on how your team performs. This includes the following:
* The manner in which you make HR inductions for new employees
* How you do corporate communication
* How you allocate corporate training programs
* How your company handles employee engagement initiatives
Empathize and use active listening to assist your team in navigating difficult situations.
Develop your cultural intelligence quotient (CQ), or the capacity to relate to and work effectively with people from varied cultural backgrounds. Because what separates us can also unite us.
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