3 quick reminders for leading a diverse team
Monday, March 3, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
We all want diverse
teams. That’s a given.
Study after study has confirmed: The success of diverse, collaborative
teams navigating the complex retail and consumer goods industry depends on the
combined skill sets of the team members, their personalities and the way they approach
and solve problems.
If we truly respect diversity, team members will have very different communication styles, views about
traditional corporate hierarchy and decision-making processes. There may
language barriers, too.
Effective leaders of diverse teams will find that
employing different leadership styles and flexing their own styles will yield
better results than using a consistent approach with every team
the potential of a diverse team:
your team accountable. Don’t allow different work styles and behaviors to
become excuses for your team members. When you allow this, it appears one
person can get away with something that another person can’t. Ensure that every
member of the team has a goal and objective and hold them accountable to meet
it. Celebrate the wins and the successes, but hold them 100-percent accountable
for the results!
2. Go "under cover.” There will be times when you know something is wrong and want to jump right in
and fix it. When this happens, remember: The people who know best how to address
a situation or fix the problem could be on the team. That’s probably why you
hired them, right? Try staying under cover
and letting the team solve its own problems. (You can jump in later, if necessary).
The team will get to a solution and achieve the intended results, though they
may get there differently than you would have. Let team members move in their own way while you
serve and guide the team in the right direction. This is a good strategy for getting
a grip on your team’s dynamics, too.
3. Have the tough
conversations. Giving and receiving feedback isn’t
always fun. Team members will receive
feedback differently. Flex your style based on your employee’s style. You may
deliver the message differently to different team members, but as a leader you
must have the tough conversation when necessary. Don’t sugarcoat. You want the
team to perform better. Don’t hold back on what will improve performance and
ultimately help your employees long term.
The better you are at leading a diverse team, the
more you’ll attract diverse team members. The end goal is driving results and
the diverse makeup of your team, if managed properly, can get you there.
Pierce is managing partner of Navigator Sales and Marketing, a company that
assists clients in navigating consumer goods and retail through consulting,
coaching and product representation. She previously served in senior roles for
Albertsons Southern California Division and Frito-Lay North America. She was
honored as one of the 2013 "Top Women in Grocery” by Progressive Grocer and one
of the 2012 "Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders” by Diversity MBA
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