The Challenge of Managing Diverse Teams
This blog aims to evaluate the advantages of a diverse team and put forward recommendations for managing diverse teams. A team is a group of people organized to work together interdependently and cooperatively to meet the needs of their customers by accomplishing a shared purpose and goal (Heathfield, 2000). Furthermore, diversity in a team refers to people with different background, culture, gender, ethnic, experience and ability.
Many researchers have shown that diverse teams produce better results provided they are well led. For example, Professor Campbell and her research group have conducted diversity research in terms of gender diversity in organization in 2014. Her recent published paper offered the first empirical evidence that heterogeneous teams produce results perceived to be of higher quality by peers than results produced by homogeneous teams (Campbell, 2014). In other words, a team with both females and males are able to achieve better performance than those with only males or females.
Trading company benefits the advantages of diverse teams greatly. A diverse team of 7 people in an Australian trading organization illustrates the advantages in several aspects. Productivity, creativity, motivation and personal growth and language advantage. The team consists of 4 males and 3 females with the age range from 25 to 45. Five of them are English speaker while the rest of them come from diverse nations. In the first place, diversity brings increase in productivity. The company found they were 45% more likely to expand market share and increase efficiency in a large degree (Smedley, 2014). Second, increase in creativity. Due to differences in ways of thinking and experience, they are more likely to put forward creative strategies. Apart from that, diversity in teams enhances employee’s personal growth and also motivates each other in a positive way. In the course of interacting with people with different skills and abilities, employees are able to absorb the strong points of others and also be motivated to improve efficiency and form their competitive edge unconsciously.
Even through it’s a general fact that diverse teams produce better results, the key role managers played in managing diverse team with effectiveness cannot be neglected. Specifically in a trade company, the ability to bring together people with different backgrounds, cultures, abilities and more importantly discover their potential and play to each others’ particular skills is considered as an indispensable quality. There are respects leaders need to consider. On one hand, realization of the advantages of diverse teams. Understand the advantages of a diverse team and make the most of it help to establish an organization with competitive edge. For example, language advantage in Australian Trade Company shows it is 70% more likely to capture a new market (Smedley, 2014). A team is in a favorable position to expand Japan market if there is Japanese in the team who knows Japan culture and Japan preferences well. On the other hand, challenges of managing an effective team are not negligible. Bias and prejudices are inevitably exist in a diverse team which hinder the cross communication among employees largely. Conflicts are easy to trigger when agreements cannot reached.
In this case, decision making becomes a difficult and time-consuming issue. This requires employees to learn to appreciate and embrace the differences among teammates. On top of that, integration of a diverse team is seen as another challenge that requires employees to become adaptable for new people, new things and new voices. The integration of the differences and abilities of employees depend upon the leader of the team (Winter 2008).
As far as I am concerned, in order to manage a diverse team with high effectiveness and efficiency, managers should attach importance to the communication among employees. Effective communication through technology like email, chatting software and more importantly, face to face communication provide a platform to share information, ideas and personal opinions will promote understanding of each other.
Besides, motivation to boost morale is also helpful in managing diverse team. Managers should constantly encourage employees to work together and remind them the shared goal. Training programs also matter in building an effective team. Language training for example, will help teammates to know each others’ culture and background and eliminate the difficulties of integration to some extent. Diversity in the team brings about benefits to the organization if it can be utilized in the right way. This requires leaders to be aware of the advantages of diversity and make good use of diversity.
Campbell, L (2014) Study shows diverse teams produce better results. Retrieved on 8th March, 2015, from:
Heathfield, S. (2000) What is a team? Retrieved on 8th March, 2015 from:
Smedley, T (2014) The evidence is growing–there really is a business case for diversity. Retrieved on 8th March, 2015, from:
Vaccaro, A (2014) Why diverse teams create better work. Retrieved on 8th March, 2015, from:
Winter K, et al. (2008) Team Climate and Productivity for Similar Majors versus Mixed Majors [online] Warrensburg, Missouri: Heldref Publications. Retrieved on 10th March from: