The modern workplace calls for a diverse environment – a team of people who come from and with wide-ranging aspirations, experiences, different cultures, languages, and geographies.
As it is, managing a team requires a balance of mental and emotional strength, for a diverse team added empathy and embracing openness also makes it to the top.
Leading a diverse workforce comes with additional sets of challenges, but managers who possess the skills needed to embrace diversity and shape employees who come from different environments into a cohesive and productive team are the ones destined for success. How can I be so sure about it? I’m a breathing example of it 😉
Let me tell you a secret – it wasn’t and even now isn’t a cakewalk. It needs constant nurturing.
One team member responds well to constructive criticism while the other feels bogged down and requires feedback in a gentler way. One communicates via email, the other via call, another via one-on-one chat, one is always ready with problems, one with solutions…
Sounds familiar – yes our team too is made up of different personalities who come with their own skill sets, experiences, preferences, attitudes and what not and to successfully bring them all together towards a mutual goal does requires efforts, continuous.
But believe me, it’s all fun and a never-ending learning process that sometimes pushes even me to the edge.
Since I’m handling it so well and I have my partner’s nod to it, here’s what you can do to better lead a diverse team –
Develop Emotional Intelligence
High emotional intelligence is an important skill not only for work but life in general. The importance of it double folds when you are responsible for managing a team. Simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize not only your own but even the needs and emotions of people around you.
Not everyone is a straightforward communicator and if you as a leader can read between the lines, you’ll be a sure shot hit with your team members.
Every single member on your team is unique and so are their weaknesses and strengths. Knowing what drives them will help you manage your team better. Personalization is the key here. You need to work on your observation power to know more about your team members and then handle them accordingly.
Lead By Example
Each member of your team deserves equal respect, courtesy, and encouragement and it all begins with how the team manager treats their members.
Be Accessible To One And All
A diverse team may have a variety of individual concerns and to address them, team members need to have confidence in their manager. As a leader, it is your fundamental duty to listen, acknowledge and address any issue that might be hampering the productivity of your employees.
Communicate Regularly To Keep The Team Unified
Team members appreciate openness but most leaders don’t communicate enough. Sharing thoughts and rationale on a regular basis will help unify people as will being upfront about any situation. Include them wherever possible as it engenders a sense of inclusion ensuring everybody feels being a part of the team.
Keep a check on your own attitude, beliefs, and biases and don’t let subconscious attitudes influence your judgments.
You’re responsible for successfully managing your team, appreciating their efforts, pushing them, motivating them and even sometimes pulling them when needed. You can be a good leader but for you to be an extraordinary one, take the time to understand your employees and you’ll have an easier time leading your diverse team members that best works well with their diverse personalities.