Diversity in a workplace is a great asset. Having people with different backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientation is a boon as it bring a wider range of experiences, ideas and sensitivities to the table. Diversity encompasses other elements that you might not think about when you think about workplace diversity, such as different education, socio-economic backgrounds, ways of thinking, and so on.
As workplaces move away from homogeneous settings, organisations need to pride themselves on the differences within their team and understand what methods work best to deliver results in diverse settings. Working with people from a wide range of backgrounds is stimulating and educational. To make the best of a diverse workforce, here are five simple tips:
Encourage open communication
Diverse teams may consist of people from different parts of the world. People from different backgrounds are likely to have differing nuanced and unique viewpoints.This is definitely an asset for any team, but to make the most out of the varying viewpoints, it is important to make sure all channels of communication are open in order to avoid any miscommunication and misinterpretation.
Each culture and language is filled with nuances that might not translate accurately into another culture or language. This even goes for body language. Learning to understand different ways of communicating and keeping an open dialogue so avoid any confusion and mishaps will help foster better teamwork in the long run.
Leave preconceived notions at the front door
The world we live in now is a truly globalized place. Through technology and communication, we have exposure and access to so many different cultures, languages and people. Despite this, we still harbor preconceived notions and stereotypes about certain people or cultures. When it comes to managing a diverse teams, these stereotypes need to be eliminated by managers and team members alike.
Build a culture of trust and teamwork
Bring people together with different backgrounds, qualifications or experiences can be a great way to foster personal development and learn new skills. Discussions and conversations between team members from varying backgrounds can create new and improved ideas about how to do things. This social aspect of teamwork can lead to company success.When you encourage teams to work together and inspire each other, it will build rapport and trust. Building trust is crucial to enhancing communication and higher levels of tolerance for different backgrounds.
Develop conflict resolution skills in your team
Even a homogenous team is bound to have conflict, so when you bring a group of people together from all over, this is a recipe for disagreements and disputes. However, this isn’t a bad thing as long as you instil conflict resolution skills in your team members. Provide conflict resolution training so your team members know how to listen to different perspectives as well as deal with problems cordially and effectively.
Get constant feedback
This is a MUST when dealing with a diverse team. Get constant feedback from your team members to see how you are performing and how you can improve. Encourage your team to be honest and open. There’s no better way to learn how to manage a diverse team than by getting tips from your diverse workforce!
-5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian