Really? Really. Diversity can be a great strength to your business, resulting in more innovation, more creativity and better problem-solving than any business owner could provide on his or her own. As you build your business, consider surrounding yourself with people who aren’t like you. Look for different skill sets, different cultural backgrounds, different professional backgrounds and different genders to provide you with the broadest perspective possible.
Will there be some uncomfortable moments? You bet. But you will find invaluable strength at your boardroom table that will allow you to move your business forward in new exciting ways. The question is how to handle a diversity of opinion, which can cause stress in the workplace, especially for managers. Today, we’d like to explore some ideas on how to manage diverse teams, aligning sometimes-divergent opinions to work toward a common goal.
See it from their perspective: It’s important when managing a diverse team to think about things from the point of view of other team members. Just because something might seem obvious to you, doesn’t mean it’s obvious to someone else. Differences in everything from age to experience level can create diversity in teams – but can also lead to miscommunication if not handled proactively.
Celebrate differences: Don’t let differences drive you apart. Even if your views on something are dramatically different, know that you don’t have to agree on everything to work together well or to come together on business issues that matter, like projects and strategy. In fact, differences should be celebrated. Whether it’s distinct cultural, social or educational differences, diverse backgrounds mean more innovation and success for everyone.
Make people feel unique and valued: The power of your team as a combined force of thinkers and creators is important, but each individual is also important. Taking time to recognize their contributions and unique skillsets or assets they bring to the team is a significant way to ensure that no one feels left out or “too different.”
The most successful teams are the ones that can find commonalities that help them work toward shared goals while using differences – in ideas, experience and more – to enhance vision and strategy. Hiring for skills, cultural fit and experience are a foundation for being able to create a team whose diversity you can encourage to bring out the best in your team’s work.