9. March 2022 By Anna Lena Weihrauch
Diversity and team success
What is diversity?
But first, we should clarify what we mean when we talk about diversity. Diversity means the multiplicity of all humanity. It is a phenomenon that we all encounter every day, both in our private lives and at work. We meet people who differ from each other due to a wide range of characteristics, such as age, gender or origin. In a nutshell, the concept of diversity is about consciously dealing with this range of different characteristics, and focusing on accepting and appreciating diversity and the benefits it brings. For companies, the globalisation of markets, the shortage of skilled workers and demographic change – to name but three reasons – are making diversity an increasingly important issue regardless. If companies can promote and manage diversity in the context of their own operations, it can have a hugely positive impact on their success.
The number of advantages that diversity can bring meant I was allowed to interview various managers and employees on the topic of diversity and team success as part of my master’s thesis at adesso, and I would like to share my key findings with you in this blog post.
The advantages of diversity in teams
The power of diversity
Trust, respect, appreciation as well as a sense of belonging, acceptance, development opportunities and leveraging different types of potential that diverse teams have to offer are what’s needed to maximise their success. Here’s why: team success begins with the feel-good factor. If every member of the team is accepted as they are, then every opinion or piece of feedback that a member of the team gives is treated with respect and everyone is treated as equals, creating an environment of trust and well-being. This then acts as a foundation on which all of the participants can develop and enrich the team with their individual strengths, expertise and knowledge. As a result, mixed teams benefit from the creativity of its members and from the different perspectives and points of view they bring to the table, which means that decisions can be made more quickly, and problems solved more effectively. These varying approaches and perspectives are incredibly valuable in areas involving complex issues in particular, and they ultimately steer the success of the project, too. The fact that people come from different backgrounds means they bring up aspects that might not have crossed the others’ minds at all, and that in turn invigorates the character of the team and helps make teamwork more efficient. Plus, this counteracts the phenomenon of group blindness and promotes a wider range of perspectives.
Communication: the key to diverse teams
Diverse teams also have the benefit of being better able to solve problems, which also means they have a greater selection of solutions available to them. Furthermore, diversity within the composition of the team has a positive effect on the decision-making process, making it easier to find compromises as a result. In general, diverse teams benefit from the team members’ different views and values, as well as the range of expertise and knowledge they possess. This requires the team members to treat each other with respect, support each other, complement each other and communicate openly with each other. Working with different types of people often also means that you have to leave your own comfort zone and be open to new things. After all, you’re interacting with people who don’t share the same views and traits as you do. It’s therefore also understandable if you find it difficult to do something unfamiliar at first. Communicating with each other will help you negotiate this initial challenge, and you might even find common ground that will strengthen your collaboration and your team as a result. That’s why it’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone. You’ll find that not only will your team change, but diversity will also have a positive impact on your working atmosphere as a whole. For instance, you will find that you have more respectful discussion culture and that you show greater appreciation for one another when you interact.
Diversity includes everyone, including you!
Linguistic change is not the only one adesso is in the midst of at the moment. We are also rethinking our society in general so as to value every gender equally and to treat them fairly accordingly. To achieve this, projects and initiatives are being started to promote diversity within the company, especially the presence of women. However, this can lead to other groups feeling disadvantaged or give rise to the spread of existential fears. But in this case, it’s important to know that diversity refers to people of all genders. This means that diversity includes everyone, and it includes you, too. If you’re still on the fence, try to see diversity and difference as an opportunity – an opportunity for everyone to support and complement each other and to succeed together!
Tips for promoting diversity in teams
Finally, I would like to give you a few tips on how to deal with diversity within your team:
1. Celebrate what makes us unique
‘Being different’ sometimes has a negative connotation. But isn’t that the definition of being human? Everyone is unique and special in their own way and that’s a good thing. That’s what makes us the people we are, so being different is something that makes us individuals and, at the same time, gives everyone something in common. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to present yourself as you are, because that is what makes you special. Stay open to new things, as this is the only way can you value other people as they are and they you.
2. Everyone is equally valuable...
...and just as important for both the team and the company. Respect other people as well as their opinions, feedback and views.
3. You are a team – you’re working together, not against each other.
You are strong as a unit, and you will only be able to achieve your goals if you work together. Pull together and you will enjoy success as a collective and have fun at work.
You will find more exciting blog posts from the adesso world in our latest blog posts.