In any organization, team members differ in beliefs and behaviors. However, the team’s agreement and consent it’s an essential element of any organizational strategy. Diversity and inclusion can improve teams’ ability to have better agreements and consent, as well as a better understanding of the customers they serve.
Let’s observe the importance of inclusion and diversity in multicultural teams and how we can build global leadership strategies that promote them in our teams.
In multicultural teams, member participation, creativity, discussions process, and decision-making do influence the success level of any project and organization.
Thus, promoting inclusion and diversity in a team will allow its members to:
- Develop awareness of different communication and thinking styles to facilitate the discussion process.
- Learn to take advantage of diverse backgrounds and skill participation to increase the effectiveness of a team.
- Share their experiences to be able to create something far greater than what each would have achieved on its own.
Similarly, not promoting diversity and inclusion can challenge teams in many ways. At the end of the day, if team members fail to stand for the larger community, the results of the team’s efforts can become biased and limited.
Here are some examples of these challenges:
- People with strong hierarchical cultures tend to expect they’d be treated differently in accordance with their position in the organization chart. Thus, the failure of cultural awareness among some members in honoring such expectations could cause humiliation and even loss of credibility and esteem in a team member.
- Team members might disagree on how much data and analysis they’ll need when making decisions. For some cultures, a bold thinking style may be considered as being proactive, while in other cultures it may be seen as being an ill-thought-out action plan.
Multicultural teams are the lifeblood of a successful organization. Therefore, cultural awareness in a team needs to be a priority at an individual level as well as at a team level to foster cultural success.
When a company has a workforce made up of people with different experiences, skills, and backgrounds it means that the generated ideas won’t be homogeneous, they’ll be more creative and innovative.
On the other hand, when organizations support multicultural teams, or teams located in distant geographical areas, or teams with specific demographic members, this can directly influence employee engagement and retention.
One of the best examples in this area is Google Inc. a famous global company known for an excellent organizational culture that drives a strong competitive advantage. This company has received the “Best Company Culture” Award for many reasons, but the most powerful one: Diversity and inclusion.
So then if we agree that team members perform at the highest potential when their beliefs, comfort, and orientation, are considered. We should, therefore, strive to make sure they have the freedom to work in ways that bring out their strengths.
Inclusion is more about incorporation than merely accommodating someone. Therefore, those in leadership positions in an organization should build global leadership strategies that promote inclusion and diversity, such as:
- Practice active listening with the desire to understand and connect with others, especially those from different cultural contexts.
- Try blending different approaches, work-styles, and needs into a cohesive process that truly empowers your team.
- Consider leveling the playing field within the members of each team to provide equal opportunities
- Address unconscious bias within members of each team as well at the organizational level.
All in all the benefits of inclusion and diversity are evident, and they go hand-in-hand. When your workforce is happier, their creativity, productivity, and effectiveness levels are higher. This translates to the business being more innovative and successful; furthermore, the best talent from around the globe will be pulled in to work there.
Cultural diversity is one of the 7 elements that have proven to be a key factor when working with multicultural teams. Find more about the Global Team Effectiveness Model ®. If you and your team are ready to improve their performance, we can help you!
Question: How can you take multicultural teams to the next level of performance and effectiveness?