Do diverse teams produce better results ?

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“Research has consistently shown that diverse teams produce better results, provided they are well led. The ability to bring together people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and generations and leverage all they have to offer, therefore, is a must-have for leaders (Ibarra and Hansen 2011: 71).”

The purpose of this blog is to evaluate the effectiveness of diverse teams and how the style of leadership and management contributes to these teams.

“Leadership is the capacity to release and engage human potential in the pursuit of common cause.” (Moore M., Diamond M. 2000). Losoncy (1997) stated that seven requirements are need for a team to be successful: synergy, cooperation, determined focus, mutual respect, reality base, optimism, and progress. Losoncy’s findings suggested that diversity is not a requirement or an obstacle, particularly for a normal work group, although there might be differences in backgrounds, approaches, beliefs, ethnicity, and personality. However, today many firms follow the strategy of using diverse teams to motivate and develop innovation and creativity and also to meet and beat the competition. According to Losoncy’s research, theoretically, diverse teams are more creative and productive when compared to those teams that are not diverse.

However, Hobman, Bordia, and Gallois (2003) stated that both team success and team member relationships depended on the management and leader of the team. The success of a team not only involves creating a diversified team, but also leading the team in the most efficient way by training them and motivating the team members towards the goal or objective (Winter K. 2008). During the study conducted over all the students who worked in teams that consisted of members of the same majors as well as teams with members with different majors to be effective in working as a team. During this study, the students with same majors were observed to be more comfortable in a team than students with different majors as a team. But when proper training were given to teams of students with different majors, those teams were observed to be more efficient as a team than teams with students of same majors (Winter K. 2008).

A diverse team consists of individuals with different ways of thinking, ideas and skills. This is because a diverse team consists of individuals from different cultures, backgrounds and disciplines. The diverse team attains optimum efficiency when all the ideas and skills of each individual in the team are integrated and combined to achieve the goal. The integration of these skills and abilities depend upon the leader of the team (Winter K. 2008). Hence, it is essential for a leader to possess the skill of integrating the skills of the individuals in a diverse team.

Leading a diverse team involves motivating and inspiring the team members through interacting and directing the team towards the goal. This is accomplished by the concept called transformational leadership. According to Sullivan and Eleanor (2005), transformational leadership is a leadership style which combines the strategy of the leader in accordance with the vision of the organisation.

According to Bass (1985), the four elements of transformational leadership are idealised influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual simulation and individualised consideration (Williams H., Parker S., Turner N, 2010). Idealised influence describes charm and passion of the leader, inspirational motivation describes the inspirational and motivational behaviour of the leader and how the leader inspires the employees about the goal, intellectual simulation is about how the leader interacts and motivates creative solutions from employees and then individualised consideration describes how leaders give attention to the needs of each and every individual in the team.

The conclusion is diverse teams produce better results compared to a homogeneous team. The efficiency of a diverse team is optimum only when a leader knows how to manage and lead a diverse team efficiently towards a common goal. Hence, a leader needs the ability to integrate and bring together the skills of all employees from different cultures, approaches, beliefs personality and ethnicity to attain optimum efficiency in an organisation.

Reference

Moore M., Diamond M. (2000) ‘Academic Leadership: Turning Vision into Reality’, [online] available from http://www.academicla.net/documents/AcademicLeadership.pdf [24th December 2012]

Sullivan, Eleanor J. (2005), Effective Leadership & Management In Nursing. Pearson Health Science.

Williams, H, Parker, S, & Turner, N (2010), ‘Proactively performing teams: The role of work design, transformational leadership, and team composition’, Journal Of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 83, 2, pp. 301-324, Available from Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=1699dc08-4254-49d7-9be6-14411a37a20e%40sessionmgr114&vid=1&hid=126, [27 December 2012]

Winter K, et al. (2008) Team Climate and Productivity for Similar Majors versus Mixed Majors [online] Warrensburg, Missouri: Heldref Publications. Available from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=e2788d99-0f23-4685-8463-97e766ab166a%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=126 [25th December 2012]

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