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Leading People Who are Different From You is Not Easy

5 Tips to Benefit from the Full Potential of Your Team Members

As a leader, it may seem easier to work with a team of people who share your background, personality, motivators, and aspirations. But the truth is, a diverse team can help your team successfully meet or exceed its goals, as well as help the business thrive.

Different experiences and perspectives can lead to innovative and new ideas; they challenge your assumptions and problem-solving approaches; and they result in better decisions and solutions.

Leading a diverse team is hard! Here are 5 tips to help you work with and benefit from the diversity on your team:

  1. Know your people. Gain a solid understanding of each team member’s strengths, development areas, and interests, so you can better understand where they are coming from and have maximum impact

  2. Set stretch, yet achievable, expectations. Be aware that not everyone will be a superstar or share your drive and ambition. But, they can still be valuable contributors in their role.

  3. Find common ground. Identify something you have in common. This will build trust and establish a connection, rather than focusing on differences.

  4. Welcome all perspectives. Allow them the space to express their views and rationale. They are not wrong. They are just different.

  5. Set aside your emotions. Focus on facts and objectives. It’s okay to feel what you are feeling, but focus on the business to have the most constructive outcome.

By leveraging the unique perspectives of your team members, you'll be better able to build a trusting and productive relationship and ultimately help your business outperform those that don't embrace their diversity.

Take the first step towards embracing diversity by setting up a meeting with each of your team members to learn more about them. Consider setting up a session with your entire team so they can learn more about each other. This will help the team and you be even more successful than you already are!

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