I consider myself a fairly open-minded, receptive person, and find my comfort zone really being stretched in my new role as project manager with international teams. I keep hearing that voice in my head judging my team mates for the choices they are making (mostly out of work) and the other-voice-in-my-head saying that having a range of opinions, perspectives and outlooks is important for any team. Do you have any suggestions on how to better embrace diversity, and where to draw the line?
She who wants diversity, but not sure how much
It’s really great to be self-aware enough to acknowledge these conflicting viewpoints. Here are some ideas for helping you think through your stand on diversity.
1. Know your own judgments and buttons. You are human and for whatever reason, some things will bother you more than others, so accept and work with that.
2. Build relationships with all team members that extend beyond the project. Meet with them in person if possible, or over video or over the phone.
3. Choose to work with people you successfully worked with in the past.
4. Decide what doesn’t matter and what actually impacts the quality and timeliness of the work to be delivered.
5. Manage only behaviors which impact the work delivered.
6. Leverage cultural differences to help team members better deliver *and* better support others.
7. Manage time differences fairly so that everyone is equally accommodating and no one feels more or less important.
8. Notice when you experience an emotional response to a team members behavior and understand why you are responding in this way, and then why they are responding this way.
9. Know when it’s not about embracing diversity, and make stand for embracing competence. Sometimes people use their differences to distract from incompetence, so . . .
10. Keep open minded about how teams do their work, and focused on moving the needle forward.
Best of luck with this challenging task!
This letter on Embracing Diversity is an Excerpt from Chapter Eight: A Cow’s Eye View, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book.