Understanding & Engaging Others: use diversity to your advantage

Varity is the spice of lifeOur multi-cultural world is bursting with a plethora of personalities and different generations.  We’re surrounded by people with dissimilar perspectives to ours and who approach things in completely different ways.


So, it’s little wonder that challenges emerge when a diverse range of people try to work together as part of a team.

Whether the diversification stems from cultural and/or social differences or it’s more concerned with personality traits and professional approach, it’s paramount that diverse teams are understood and encouraged.  Here are some thoughts to help you understand and engage the talent within your team.

Self-awareness is fundamental:

Before you can fully understand people, you need to have a good understanding of yourself.   If you know where your weaknesses lie, and you’re not afraid to own up to them, then your team are going to value that.  They’ll see you as someone who’s dependable, trustworthy and they’ll have no qualms in engaging with you.

Encourage creativity:

Encouraging creativity within your team is valuable in many different ways.  Giving people a relatively free-rein to come up with ideas, tackle projects in a different way and blur the boundaries of convention will boost their confidence (and your credibility).  You’ll get a chance to see how they work when they’re given an opportunity to handle something their way, instead of being shown the way.

The importance of listening:

Listening is critical to engaging others and it’s also a valuable ingredient in relationship-building, too.  If an individual is looking for your support, feedback or input into a particular challenge, then you need to listen and listen properly.  Don’t just pretend to listen because they will know if your mind is elsewhere!  Look at body language too, and think about whether there are underlying messages being communicated to you indirectly.

Reward results:

Rewarding diverse teams with a generic reward system can bring long-term benefits.  Feeding back about a successful performance can encourage gelling within teams and bring about a much-needed morale boost.  New collaborations may emerge, and team members may be more inclined to work with people they wouldn’t ordinarily have worked with previously.

Use diversity to your advantage:

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each team member allows you to create a diverse team and can bring enormous advantages.  If one person is methodical and logical, teaming them up with someone who has a different approach and gets results quicker, could give each person an insight into their different working methods.  Experiencing someone else’s perspective first-hand like this can enhance team performance and enable an individual to grow.  Similarly, the more introverted team members could benefit from working with the extroverts and by encouraging people to step outside of their comfort zone, the engagement within the group can increase.

The diversity of the workplace is constantly increasing, and with it comes its own set of demands, benefits and potential obstacles.  A richly diverse team can bring a whole wealth of benefits as opposed to a team which has little assortment.  Opportunities for sharing experiences, different approaches and methods, and encouraging more creative working amongst teams can be more fertile in terms of team performance.  Understanding and engaging diversity is something which, if embraced, can bring an abundance of benefits.

If you’re struggling to understand and engage your team, you could always get in touch with us to help.

photo credit: srqpix


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