Since we are children, we tend to get together with those who share certain aspects with us, such as tastes, hobbies and ways of thinking. We are social beings and it is inevitable that we follow a tendency to create relationships with those who have more aspects in common with us. This phenomenon can also be found within the work environment, specifically in teams and in the interpersonal relationships created between its members.
Despite we follow this trend, interacting with different people has great advantages, both in work and personal environments. In this post I am going to share with you, from my point of view, the benefits that diversity brings to teams.
Let’s go with it!
Diversity = Creativity
Diversity in teams can be found in many aspects, each member has different ways of thinking, tastes, preferences, knowledge and degrees of expertise, among others.
At first glance it can be very positive that aspects like the above are shared by all team members, since we can foresee that, as there are more aspects in common between the members, they will get along well. In some teams, this approach is followed when looking for new members, thus reducing team diversity. This can end up leading to a problem, since the lack of diversity can end up affecting negatively the decisions made by the team.
A diverse team impulses the appearance of discussions where interesting considerations or aspects may arise that wouldn’t otherwise come to light.
For instance, we can imagine a team meeting where a more creative person debates with a more analytical person to find a solution to a problem. In general, the proposals of the creative person will be more influenced by intuition and imagination, while the more analytical person will follow a more methodical approach, breaking down the problem into parts to be analyzed from different angles. Both thinking approaches can lead to interesting ideas, and the team can benefit from putting them together to find the best solution.
Diversity can also be reflected in aspects such as the culture, sex, or age of people, related to which different approaches and opinions may appear that also enrich the team.
Therefore, a diverse team will empower that each person contribute with their grain of sand based on different approaches and experiences, leading to greater creativity.
Diversity = Innovation
Greater creativity, in turn, leads to improved innovation capacity. A team capable of innovating will be more resilient to change. This is something to keep in mind in a changing world like today’s, where one of the biggest challenges for companies is keeping up-to-date without being eaten by competition.
The requirements of diversity
It is important to keep in mind that, for all this to be possible and to make discussions such as the one in the previous example fruitful, it is necessary that all team members have the confidence needed to be able to freely express their thoughts and ideas, without the fear of being judged or criticized. Each member’s thought or idea must be listened and respected and, in case of conflict, the team must ensure that a true common agreement is reached.
On the other hand, diversity in the team must be accompanied by a common ground of attitudes, skills, feelings, knowledge and degrees of expertise shared by all team members. These aspects are essential for the team to be integrated and to make the most of diversity. Within the common ground we can find the feeling of belonging to the team, which is important that it is present in all members to enhance integration.
In my opinion, diversity is very important when it comes to forming or growing a team, since it is directly related to their creativity and ability to innovate. I consider that diversity has to be taken into account both if you are a manager of a large company or if you are a startup founder.
I encourage you to reflect on this topic and to share your views and experiences in the comments section. I will be happy to learn from you!