Leading a Diverse Team
Posted on March 19, 2020, by Devyn Hinchee
When you’ve built a diverse team, it’s time to start leading them. When you’re working with a team made up of different demographic backgrounds, education backgrounds, and experience levels, it can feel like you’re not sure where to start to lead them effectively but bringing a few things into practice can make all the difference.
Embrace the team spirit
When employees feel like they’re all working towards the same goal, the more likely they are to be willing to collaborate and work together across their differences. Make sure that communication amongst your team is top-notch and that you’re transparent when talking about expectations and goals. Everyone should feel like they are contributing something to the team so they have a better commitment to the team goals.
Be open to change
Leading a diverse team means bringing together a wide array of viewpoints, experiences, and thought processes. You may discover that something you’ve been doing for years isn’t the most effective way to do something thanks to the input from your team. Be willing to make that adjustment! Showing that you’re willing to make changes that need to be made is another way to prove to your team that you’re invested in the diverse thoughts they bring to the table.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Diverse groups can sometimes be prone to more arguments owing to differing viewpoints so it’s all about keeping communication open and honest. When in doubt, listen to your team. Question them about how they’re feeling about the team’s progress. Are they feeling apprehensive about anything? Have they run into any consistent roadblocks that need to be worked out? Showing your team that you’re willing to listen to the simple problems shows them that you’re willing to listen to the difficult ones too.
Confront your blind spots
You may think that because you haven’t experienced something it must not happen. That’s just not true. This can be a difficult thing to deal with but in the long run, it will make you a better leader and a more empathetic person. Talk to people you trust about what some of your blind spots might be, give them permission to be blunt, and take their suggestions to heart. Being willing to confront your blind spots and grow as a leader is yet another stepping stone in building your team’s trust.