Diversity and Team Work

Who would you choose for your football team?

In my childhood before our daily game of football it was common that two of the best players were selecting from the kids available in turns, one by one. Being selected last was a humiliation. And sure not only the ability to play football was the main criteria, but as well sympathy and the status in the group. And vice versa being selected for one of the two teams meant you had to adapt to the group culture of the respective leader.

The same happens often with teams in our working world. The temptation is huge to form teams of equals, as this guarantees easy understanding and smooth processing. Team members will tap each other’s shoulders an reassure each other, that they do the right thing in the right way.

Let’s be honest: Diversity in teams creates friction and misunderstanding. Conflicts might arise more often than in a homogeneous team. On the other hand it is well known that diverse teams are proven to be more innovative and more successful on long term.

To profit from these advantages takes some special efforts:

  • We need a common agreement that we want to be one team.
  • Each team member is accepted and valued they way they are
  • Each team member is ready to exchange and to learn from each other

And last but not least:

  • Responsibilities and tasks are not distributed equally but according to individual strength and weakness – giving room to excel in different fields and constant development.

So diversity by itself is not enough. If you are not ready to invest into your team in the above mentioned way, rather use the homogeneous approach and stay the way you are forever 😉

Dan Wiener, 31. May 2022