Tips for Managing a Team of Diverse Personalities

The vast majority of experts agree that a diverse workforce is stronger than a homogeneous workforce. When your teams are made up of professionals with different backgrounds, perspectives, and skill sets, it leads inevitably to innovation and creative problem solving. The only drawback is that diversity, by its very nature, creates a certain amount of friction. If you’re trying to make the most of your diverse workforce while mitigating the challenges that occasionally arise, use these tips:

Scrutinize the Personalities in Play

You know that your team is made up of diverse personalities, but what is the nature of that diversity and why is it leading to conflict? Perhaps you have employees from different generations trying to mesh old and new ideas together, or a mixture of very logical and very emotional team members. Understanding the individual personality of each person you manage can help you better calibrate your managing style to that person and the team as a whole.

Build Relationships

Once you understand the personalities you have in play, it’s time to start building relationships with your team as people, not just workers. When people feel acknowledged, understood, and respected they are often more receptive to being managed. If, and when, you need to step in to mediate a conflict, your efforts will have a much bigger impact.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Conflicts within teams tend to lead members to join one camp or another. Once these alliances start to form, the lines of communication begin to close which only compounds the problems further. As the manager, it is up to you to facilitate communication and understanding through both formal and informal means. Many workplace conflicts resolve themselves naturally when the parties involved have a chance to talk, vent, and reach a mutually agreed upon solution.

Focus on Results

Your goal is to get things done, not dictate exactly how things should be done. If you have a team made up of diverse personalities, various members will have different strategies for accomplishing the goals set out for them. Don’t try to enforce a one-size-fits-all approach or micromanage people. Instead, celebrate their diversity, allow them to structure their time and workflows around their own strengths, and make judgments based only on the finished product.

It’s worth reiterating that diversity is an asset not an obstacle. You may have to operate outside of your management comfort zone, but ultimately you will become a better manager as a result. You’ll also probably rack up some accolades and rewards along the way. As you strive to build diversity into your workforce, rely on resources from the staffing strategists at Morris Bixby.


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