For Effectiveness in Working with Diverse Teams, Don’t Just Listen – Act

The term diversity can have slightly different meanings to different people. We often think about diversity as involving a narrow set of factors such as ethnicity, gender, age, or culture.

The reality is that whether it is immediately evident or not, virtually any leader is working with a diverse team. Even when teams may appear to be homogeneous at the surface level, different life experiences and personal backgrounds can shape people’s knowledge, beliefs, and ways of thinking – essentially guaranteeing some level of diversity in any group of people.

This is a good thing. The different perspectives that make up diverse teams tend to lead to better decisions at the team level. However, making this work requires leaders who are effective at working with diverse people.

In a recent study, MRG explored the leadership behaviors that are most closely associated with working effectively with diverse people. We found that leaders who actively seek input from others, actually listen and use some of that input (the behavior Consensual in LEA terms) are considered effective in this area. Taking this approach to leadership can be especially helpful when encouraging participation from different team members. It also helps to ensure that the diversity of the team is being put to good use by increasing the chances that a variety of perspectives and ideas are being considered during the decision-making process.

Download the report to see the full set of results that convey effectiveness at working with diverse people.

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About the author

Maria is Head of Research at MRG. She loves a challenge and often gets a little too excited about running new studies. She finds peace and balance by cooking (as long as her husband is doing the cleaning) or being anywhere near the ocean.

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