Leading Diverse Team

Leadership x Diversity


Could diversity bring synergy, efficiency, and alternatives; or it would towards conflicts and chaos? As widely discussed, the business context is now multi-religion, multi-nation, and multi-culture. It has become a vital issue for all leaders to understand individual differences and how to collaborate and build up competences for challenges. Hence, first task for leaders would be investigating the pros and cons, and limitation of diversity team could achieve; then lead the team towards higher performance.

Pros and Benefits of diversity team

1. Innovation

To overall evaluate, teams’ performances depend on how members could dedicate their competences to the team for achieving objectives, and what elements could team members bring to the team. In comparison to ordinary team, diversity teams combine different mind-sets from multi-cultural context, which allow them to absorb new ideas and illustrate creativity.

2. Talents

Through accurately choice of diversity team members, leaders could have selected members with talents together for completing the objectives. This process helps organisations to generate task-orientation team with multi-cultural background, which could be more efficient and effective on achieving goals.

3. Multi-Cultural Context

While the companies aim to global business environment, diversity teams could lower the barrier with high adaption ability and background, which could help the organisation to fit in the emerging business environment more efficient. Diversity teams could also take advantages of various backgrounds to identify, anticipate, and satisfy customers’ requirements profitably better than ordinary teams (CIM 2014).

Cons and Limitations of Diversity Team

1. Conflicts between Teams and Members

The conflicts happened when individuals couldn’t build consensus and harmony, which might comes from their backgrounds, values, habit, and different education. The situation indicates how cultural differences could cause various state of mind in the workplace. The situation could apply to inter-team as well, possibly make cross-department task more complex. (Mullins 2013)

2. Workplace Cultural Dimensions Issues

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 16.30.30

(Hofstede 2014)

The six dimensions bring challenge to leaders to properly communicate messages or orders to team members, because they might decode the message through different mind. If misunderstanding and errors happened, the performance of diversity teams would become inefficient than other teams.

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. Diversity teams should not only considerate performance, but also 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.

Ten practical ideas for managing Diversity

(Mullins 2013)

 Employers, manager, and leaders could follow these 10 ideas to observe the sign of potential conflicts and cultural adaption problems, and avoid it happened in advance. These efforts are crucial to keep diversity team performing efficient and innovative with its competences.

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 effective, harmony, and high-performance diversity team, there would be following skills for leaders to acquire and improve during their career.

1. Communication

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


One comment

  1. You explained this blog in a logical way, from good side of diverse team to bad side of it, and then tell us how could we improve. Further more, your idea about “Identifying Collaboration Patterns”, really expand my knowledge, I will pay attention to it when I go to work place.

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