Could diversity bring synergy, efficiency, and alternatives; or just another beginning towards conflicts and chaos within the organisation? As widely discussed, the business environment steps into a multi-religion, multi-nation, and multi-culture teaming stage. It has become a vital issue for all levels of leaders to understand individually difference and how to combine each advantages to build the team’s shared competences for fulfilling upcoming challenges. Under this topic, first task for leaders will be the investigation to the pros and cons, and limitation of diversity team could achieve. Then the leaders could cultivate their diversity team leading skills in order to create better results in the specific industries.
Pros and Benefits of diversity team
To overall evaluate, teams’ results and performances depend on how members could dedicate their competences to the team for achieving objectives and tasks. What could team members bring become crucial element to the innovation and success. In comparison to ordinary team, diversity teams combine different and new mind set from multi cultural context, which enable them to absorb ideas and illustrate creativity.
Through accurately choice of diversity team members, managers and leaders could be easier to recruit suitable and even outstanding members together. This process help the organisations to operate by task-orientation team with multi cultural background, which could be way more efficient and excellent on meeting organisational objectives.
3. Multi Cultural Context
While the companies aim to global business environment, diversity teams could develop with low barrier, because its internal multi cultural context brings the team strong adaption ability. Their adaptability helps the company and other employees to be able to fit the emerging business environment more efficient. Diversity teams could also come up with business solution easier since their members could take advantages of their background, and act in identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customers’ requirements profitably better than ordinary teams. (CIM 2014)
Cons and Limitations of Diversity Team
1. Conflicts Within Team and Inter Team
The conflicts happened since the various needs of individuals couldn’t build consensus and harmony within the team , which might coming from their backgrounds, values, habit, and different education as well.The situation indicates how cultural differences could cause various state of mind in the workplace. In addition, the situation could apply to inter team as well, which could possibly make the cross departments task more complex. (Mullins 2013)
2. Workplace Cultural Dimensions Issues
Hofstede’s six dimensions in different cultures’ workplace (showed below) shows how diversity team workers might act upon the context towards organisational objectives, orders, and interactions (2014).
Power Distance: How a society handles inequalities among people.
Individualism versus Collectivism: Whether people’s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We.”
Masculinity versus femininity: Competitive/Consensus-orientated.
Uncertainty Avoidance: Tolerance of uncertainly and ambiguity.
Pragmatic versus Normative: People in the past, as well as today, relate to the fact that so much that happens around us cannot be explained.
Indulgence versus Restraint: Allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun.
The six dimensions bring challenge to manager and leaders to properly communicate one single message or orders to every members, because they might decode the message through totally opposite culture mind. If misunderstanding and errors start from this stage of communication, the performance of diversity teams would become inefficient than other forms.
3. Ethical Arguments for Equality of Treatment
Though it has been widely emphasised of diversity teams’ advantage within the business environment, the companies should remain their attention on social responsibilities as well. Either the social responsibilities are brought to the companies by laws or their strategies, diversity teams should not only considerate performance, but to cover social justice and responsibility for the stakeholders as well. (Mullins 2013)
Management Methods to Ensure Diversity Team could Achieve Collaboration
Mullins reproduced the concept map of diversity at work from The Virtual Learning Materials Workshop (2013), and showed the solution for managers and leaders to ensure diversity teams could work as expected high performance and not occurring inter-individual issues.
1. Test assumptions about people before acting on them.
2. Ensure that organisational policies related to discipline and grievance are clearly understood.
3. For all employers, but particularly new recruiters, make sure that written and unwritten diversity policies are understood and acted upon.
4. Maintain open channels of communication to try to locate possible issues before they become problems.
5. Learn how to understand the views of all staff members and encourage open approaches.
6. Be prepared to listen to varying methods of solving work-based problems.
7. Learn about and have regard to any strongly-held beliefs (such as religious observances, food, relationships) that are held by individuals.
8. Acknowledge all contributions to improving working environments and processes from whatever the source.
9. Know your own cultural diversity biases – and work at not letting them affect the workplace.
10. Take care that any workplace-based social events can be enjoyed by all workers – especially relevant (but not restricted) to those with physical disability.
Employers, manager, and leaders could follow these 10 steps to become able to observe the sign of potential conflicts and cultural adaption problems, and take actions to avoid it happened in advance. These efforts is crucial to keep diversity team performing efficient and innovative with team members’ competences and their cultural context.
Skills to Improve Diversity Team’s Performance
As the main idea of taking advantage from the diversity teams, leaders should regard team building skills as the priority to learn and develop. To succeed in building a effective, harmony, and high-performanced diversity team, there would be following skills for leaders to acquire and improve during their career.
Experienced communicator would make diversity team members from various background to receive the message accurately, and minimise the misunderstanding, which might cause problem between members and teams. To learn how to communicate across different culture and deliver message efficiently would be the first skill managers and leaders need.
2. Identifying Collaboration Patterns
As managers and leaders could communicate without barriers within the diversity team, the next skills required would be ensuring the co-working patterns in the multi cultural environment. It’s crucial to maximise team members’ potential by helping them contribute their competence as the proper role, which depends on the tasks and context.
3. Mission Allocation
As the managers and leaders, realising members’ competencies and limitations in the diversity team would be the last but not least skill for improving performance. With proper communication and positioning, the managers and leaders would be able to allocate responsibility and missions of organisation’s objective to the members according to their competences and background talents. Well-allocated members bring higher performance through non-conflict collaboration and non-barrier communication between peers, manager, leader, and cross teams.
CIM (2014) Glossary [online] available from < http://www.cim.co.uk/Resources/JargonBuster.aspx > [24th Feb. 2014]
Hofstede (2014) Dimensions [online] available from < http://geert-hofstede.com/dimensions.html > [24th Feb. 2014]
Mullins, L.J., (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour. UK: Pearson Education Limited