Diverse teams are those with varied characteristics ranging from age, sexual orientation, nationality to religious beliefs, skill sets, and political preferences. Yet, they are probably the most challenging teams for HR Managers. In this article we discuss How To Empower Diverse Teams: Tips To Follow.
HR Managers have to deal with diversity which can be in terms of demographic, personality, or functional. All these forms are what make a non-homogenous team standout.
However, it is up to HR managers to make sure that these teams are working together seamlessly and that collaboration thrives.
There are numerous reasons why every organization should endeavor to have and work alongside such a team. For instance, diverse teams perform better in terms of solving problems because everyone views an issue from a different lens.
Also, due to their diverse backgrounds, these teams tend to be more innovative compared to teams with cognitively similar professionals. When it comes to decision making, you will realize that each member digests information differently and the team wholly focuses on facts.
While these teams are smarter, as HR managers do you know how you can equip them to continue achieving prompt output for your company effectively?
This article provides you tips on how to empower diverse teams. Among the things you should include.
1. Encourage knowledge sharing
Hoarding knowledge at work is the beginning of mistrust and can also make it difficult for people to do their jobs efficiently.
As an HR manager, you may want to ensure that your team is constantly sharing information to enhance collaboration.
Encouraging knowledge sharing begins with the simplest things like the distribution of files in a format that is seen the same way by everyone.
So, how do you do this? Convert to PDF all Microsoft word files to be shared with your diverse team.
In case you didn’t know, there are benefits to sharing documents in PDF format. These include:
- You can encrypt files such that they can only be seen by authorized people only
- PDF preserves the visual elements hence, everyone sees the same thing
- Large documents with graphs can be shared because there is an option to compress the files
- When fostering such practice, none of the team members will feel left out.
2. Develop feedback channels
Diverse teams have differing opinions. Therefore, you need to develop formal outlets for feedback where everyone has a chance to have their voice heard. Such avenues ensure all varied opinions are officially heard and valued.
It is through such forums where you have an opportunity to look into the challenges that your diverse team may be facing as well as areas that need improvement.
Feedback channels can include face to face meetings or digital surveys.
Suppose you have a strategy that differs from the one your team is proposing, it is through these avenues that you could understand why that is the case.
Feedback channels make your team feel appreciated because it also gives them a voice to offer your constructive criticism.
3. Challenge and trust your team
Diverse teams are unique and the moment you try to boss people around, it will result in a backlash. Depending on who you pick on, it will be viewed as discriminatory on a particular group of people.
Therefore, you need to tread carefully when working with such groups. Instead, challenge your team and trust that whatever decisions they make, they will do so for the good of the company.
Give your team the freedom to grow, explore, and learn because that is the only way you will get a great output. The way to achieve this is by empowering individual team members to channel their inner potential.
By allowing them to do so, they get to make mistakes and learn from them. You could encourage them to be themselves other than having them conform to certain regulations or requirements.
Lastly, you could diversify team leadership such that those who are outstanding stay in one team while those that need to improve are in another team such that there is no need for unhealthy competition or conflict.
4. Have your team’s back
Nothing says empowerment like your superior having your back at all times. The way to have your employees back is by encouraging individual development by providing mentorship and training.
You could also praise and recognize those professionals who excel in their duties. It does not take expensive gifts to show appreciation, words alone are enough.
Furthermore, you can allow some room for failure.
It may sound weird but team members will embrace creativity to get work done when they trust that you will give them constructive feedback if they fail.
5. Develop their soft skills
These are interpersonal attributes that your diverse team needs to succeed in the work environment. Among the skills that your team needs include:
- Conflict resolution skills: Whenever you are working with a team of people with varied personalities, conflicts are always bound to ensue. Often conflicts in a diverse team are due to people’s different customs, values, needs, and personal factors. When such issues come up, you cannot always be trying to mediate things among the conflicting parties. Therefore, you need to train your team to resolve issues amicably. Such training will take the pressure off you as you will no longer be the only person that mediates conflicts. Additionally, your diverse team will learn to identify and deal with their diversity and other problems that may arise.
- Communication skills: These skills are the foundation of every component of a business. Effective communication means that your team can deliver, receive, and comprehend the message being passed successfully. You need to encourage open communication in the work environment for teams to understand one another. Excel at imparting good communication skills to your team. You have to lead by example. How do you achieve this? You should show your team that you are comfortable communicating about difficult topics and situations. Showing such vulnerability encourages teams to open up.
- Work ethic skills: These skills have to do with people being able to complete their duties in a quality and timely fashion. When your diverse team is armed with work ethic skills, there will be integrity in your team, dependability, proper time management, attention to detail, and organization.
6. Promote team improvement
You need to realize that when your team learns new skills, it will improve its output. Therefore, you need to support your team with continued education within your organization and outside the workplace.
For example, you can have them go through regular online training to encourage the development of their hard skills including analytical, presentation, management, and technical skills.
If you are not in a position to lend financial help to them, you need to be flexible to allow them to pursue their personal development.
Flexibility means allowing some of your team members who are taking courses at a local college to leave work early to attend class.
7. Inspire creativity
Just because you are accustomed to performing tasks differently does not mean that your way is the only manner to accomplish a task.
Diverse teams have a plethora of ideas.
Therefore, use that! These teams can leverage their individual knowledge to share creative solutions that will put your organization at the forefront.
It takes you trusting your team to do what they think would be in the best interest of your company.
At the same time, you need to appreciate your team’s efforts when they excel at doing a task creatively. People love recognition, especially when they have done something great.
Acknowledging their success will make them feel valued. And valued employees aim to achieve more! At times an attempt at being creative can turn out bad.
Therefore, you need to let your team know that there will be no negative consequences should their creativity not turn out as desired.
This approach requires that you practice forgiveness and understanding. When your team knows that it will not be blamed or scolded, it stops playing safe and surprises you with creativity.
8. Be attentive to their concerns
Apart from welcoming your team’s ideas and feedback, you should encourage them to share possible concerns that they may have.
When you listen to your team, you end up creating staff retention strategies that will boost your staff morale.
Lending an ear to the members of your diverse team also helps build strong relationships.
To achieve this, you need to engage in small talk with your team from time to time. It is during the small talk that people are more honest.
The best time to engage your team is after a meeting in your office. You can also have such small talk in an informal setting such as during lunch break in the office kitchen.
When they finally raise their concerns, you should move fast to address them. Doing so will leave your diverse team feeling empowered.
As a leader, you may have a lot of work all the time but the most important thing you can do is empower your teams to make independent decisions.
With the right amount of encouragement and support, you can develop high performing teams that make you look efficient.
These 8 tips will help you stop trying to micromanage your teams.
Empowering your teams is also granting them autonomy to act in their best interest. Your diverse team will in turn reward you with creativity and innovation that will help your company excel.
So, endeavor to empower people!
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