Question: What do all teams have in common? Answer: Each is unique and not like any other.
If you’ve ever been on a team or managed one, you know this to be true. Teams are made up of people with varied interests, different personalities, and different ways each person responds to advice and direction. And if you’re a manager, knowing how to manage a diverse team is one of the keys to doing your job successfully.
Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” So how do we get to what Ford calls success?
Team managers have to have the tools and flexibility needed as organizations grow and shrink. You have to know your individual team members and understand how to manage each one separately, and then the whole team as a group. Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind when managing a diverse team:
1) Understand individual strengths and skills. A manager should be focusing on how to get the most out of the strengths of his or her employees. When a team member’s day-to-day functional role is built around strengths, the person is highly more likely to find that role fulfilling and engaging. In destination marketing organizations, many teams can be small, and it’s necessary to wear many hats in any one position. It is important for a manager to understand where team members can best fill needs based on their strengths to ultimately succeed in their positions.
2) Know individual weaknesses. Understanding an employee’s weaknesses is just as important as knowing strengths. If someone is put in a role that targets weak points in a skill set, the person will be unhappy and most likely will fail in the role.
3) Understand your team’s generational tendencies. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s Generation Differences Survey Report, nearly 60 percent of HR managers have observed conflicts arising from generational issues in the workplace. Understanding generational bents and why they occur can help managers understand their team members better. A great manager can adapt a managerial style to accommodate the generational differences faced in the workplace.
4) Know about what your team members are interested in outside the office. Managers need to make sure that they take time to get to know employees on a personal level. Learn about their families and what they do for fun. Building a personal relationship helps to facilitate a mutually respectful relationship. This will help build internal loyalty and reduce overall turnover.
Team leaders and managers need understand that it takes all types of people to run an organization, and each person needs to be put in the best position to succeed. As a manager, one of your key responsibilities is to help get them there.