How to Manage a Diverse Team
Managing diversity is about valuing individuals and respecting what each individual brings to the team. It is not enough to acknowledge differences; you must promote an inclusive environment in order to create a successful team. Management must celebrate individual differences, not just tolerate them.
Creating a diverse team starts with hiring. Hiring based on skills is easy, but finding people with the right attitude who are open-minded and represent different ways of thinking is the key. It is much easier to teach someone new skills than to change his or her attitude.
Once you have a team in place, the manager's work begins. A diverse team left without effective management will struggle. Learning to work together as a cohesive unit takes time and energy, and someone must lead the team to success.
The following are suggested techniques for successfully managing a diverse team:
- Make sure that your employees feel valued and included in business strategy. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to contribute more and care about a company's success.
- Get to know each of your employees as an individual. Recognize each person's unique talents and abilities.
- Communicate with each employee by giving both positive and constructive feedback on a regular basis. Do not give people who are different from you an easier or harder time.
- Treat each of your employees fairly and equally. Give each person opportunities to shine and grow.
- Make sure that each person is participating equally on the team. Assess your meeting techniques and management styles to make sure they work for everyone involved.
- Create an open, safe work environment where each of your employees feels comfortable voicing opinions and sharing ideas. Make sure no one is ridiculed or bullied by other teammates or by you as the manager.
- Be aware of the feelings and any tension within your team and intervene quickly.