Embracing Diversity, an Excerpt from Chapter Eight: A Cow’s Eye View

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Dear Linda,
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

Dear She,
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!
Linda

This letter on Embracing Diversity is an Excerpt from Chapter Eight: A Cow’s Eye View, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book.

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One Response to “Embracing Diversity, an Excerpt from Chapter Eight: A Cow’s Eye View”

  1. Camille Smith Says:

    To She who wants diversity,
    Linda’s reply is good. Here’s what I’d like to contribute: my guess is that you may already know that Linda’s suggestions are good ones to follow. my additional guess (from having worked with hundreds of people around the world) who have the same questions you have is: even saying “yes” to the list of actions, you still may not know “how” to put these concepts into practice and be effective in creating the kind of team environment and leadership style you seek. It is the “how” that people most often need help with. Begin by being clear on your commitment. then become a student of “managing the conversations” — beginning with yours (including the “voices/thoughts in your head).

    It is possible to learn this. some of my blogs may be helpful to you. let me know if i can be of service.
    Camille Smith

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