How to Manage a Diverse Team and Bring Them Together

The challenge of leading men and women from varied backgrounds, with varying ambitions, levels of experience, genders and ages shouldn’t be overlooked, as diversity can be both an asset and an issue in the workplace.

More generations than ever before are now in the same workplace, with Baby Boomers putting off retirement to stay in the workforce and Millennials growing in number. Moreover, you now have remote employees growing into a considerable part of the workforce, which could mean people from several countries working together despite being in different time zones and using different languages (or variations on the same language).

All of this adds up to a challenging job for any manager. Below are a few tips on how to effectively handle the supervision of a diverse range of workers.

Don’t play favorites

Surveys have shown many employees think their manager plays favorites. Great leaders take the time to appreciate everyone on their team, despite differences in age, location, culture or experience.

Effective leaders also acknowledge the differences in a diverse group, recognizing how different backgrounds can lead to unique solutions, as well as unique problems. These leaders also recognize that generalizing is counterproductive and unhelpful.

Communicate as much as possible

Employees have to know how well they are doing their job and this is even more crucial in a team with remote workers who rely on email and messenger apps to stay connected. A diverse team must be as visible as possible to one another, establish solid connections and avoid a reliance on cultural shortcuts.

Online tools like Facetime can bring people together, but technology does have its pitfalls and won’t be efficient without active management. Locate new ways for team members to share information. It’s much more crucial for diverse teams to be capable of share information and expertise than for more homogeneous teams. While internal social networks can facilitate the sharing of information, they don’t help people clear up issues on their own.

Set rules to avoid conflicts

Too few leaders manage workplace turmoil very well. Between with diverse crew, conflict will come up and the leader must deal with it to be effective. Employees need a set of ground rules so that they are aware of expectations and potential conflict points. Without strong ground rules, people won’t realize what is expected and misunderstandings will often rise to become full-blown conflicts.

Set the tone through your actions

Usually, what a leader does, says and how she or he acts will be reflected in the actions of their team. It’s up to the leader to establish the tone of the workplace. While workers aren’t expecting their boss to be friends with them, they do expect professionalism, honesty, and diligence. Furthermore, team members should feel appreciated and respected. Even conversations on challenging subjects, like those based in the diversity of the team, should at some point turn positive and effective, not negative, personal and demoralizing.

At Labor Temps, we support effective managers through custom talent acquisition solutions and managed services. Please contact us today to learn more about the value we can add to your company.