LEADING DIVERSE TEAMS – ESTABLISHING COMMON GUIDELINES

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This month is all about helping leaders become successful at leading diverse teams. When referring to diverse teams, we include more than the usual diverse selections such as religion, sex, age, and race, but also such areas as personality characteristics, cultural differences, political affiliation, upbringing, etc. All of these factors play a huge role in the diversity of a team. The key to the successful leader is understanding how to influence and motivate a diverse team to work together to meet organizational goals.

I’ve mentioned that my personality type according to 16 Personalities is the ISTJ personality type or “THE LOGISTICIAN” which means that I believe wholeheartedly that structure and rules foster dependability. When leading a diverse team, a leader must establish a set of rules or guidelines to ensure that the all team members have a common baseline for the left and right boundaries of the organization. One of the great benefits of leading a diverse team is that a leader can harness the different skills and viewpoints of the various members of the team. This challenge is building a cohesive group of distinct personalities that can put aside their preconceived notions, biases, and differences for the betterment of the organizational vision.

A key to accomplishing this mission is to establish a standard set of rules or guidelines for working together and then sharing them with the team as a whole. These rules and guidelines need to promote inclusiveness while establishing boundaries to avoid biases that would lead to exclusion. The U.S. Army is excellent at convincing individuals to adhere to a standard set of beliefs, values guidelines, etc.  As an organization that is arguably one of the most diverse organizations in the United States, the Army requires individuals from different walks of life to work together. Therefore, all soldiers learn the seven Army Values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. These values establish a common understanding of expectations across the Army and over time these values become an integral part of the soldier’s way of life. Additionally, these values lay the groundwork for the individual’s conduct when working in a diverse team. Soldiers now come to the table with the same baseline values as opposed to just their own preconceived biases.

As you read through some of the tips, references and resources provided this month, think about how you can best establish an inclusive set of standards to start your team on the right path to harnessing their diversity