Managing Diverse Teams and the role of leaders
1st April 2021
Business globalisation and integration of information technology have been the catalyst to how businesses conduct itself and spearhead the intricate organization for continuous improvement and reinventing its processes.
Managing business operations proficiently, is not the same as managing non-business stakeholders. Managers have to comprehend the intricacy of political-economic or cultural environments. More companies now have realised the opportunities and the potential worth to business performance by instilling inclusiveness and diversity. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced publicly in 2015 on its broad hiring endeavours such as hiring and paying men and women employees equally. The company also warrants the mixture of the employees will reflect the diversities of the communities that the business operates in (Vivan, et al. 2018).
To identify the effectiveness of the managers to manage the businesses with diversified cultures, nationalities, and genders, we analyse the elements that makes up these diversities and theories on culture (Hofstede, 1983). The six dimensions are power, identity, gender, uncertainty, indulgence and time. In most Asian countries the power distance is higher than countries such as U.S. or Europe. Individualism ties individuals loosely such as in the US, and UK. We can see in Singapore, Mexico, or Indonesia where collectivism is prevalent as it is the connection of the people and strong loyalty to each other.
The gender roles are distinct such as in the Middle Eastern countries, whilst femininity describes the overlapping roles of genders such as Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Uncertainty Avoidance is the magnitude of the culture feeling threatened by the unknowns. Singapore is identified as low, but Japan, Portugal and Greece are known to be high. Figure 1 illustrates the cultural dimensions (Geert , et al., 2010).
Pursuant to analysing the cultural dimensions, we look at inclusive leadership. The attributes as reflected in figure 2, comprises of 6 capabilities to adapt to the diverse markets and talents. Leaders strive for diversity and establish an inclusive business attitude and correct ethical values. Embrace varying communication style to fit different rules and etiquettes. Regardless of their team’s background, fair treatment to employees by setting the foundation and standards to ensure that all hiring policies are in compliance (Juliet & Andrea 2020).
The McKinsey 7S model examines the results of future transformations within organisations. The processes and departments are brought into line, for the ultimate goals. This model also identifies the importance of culture into its strategies (Michael et al., 2009).
Leading diverse workforce in an equitable and fair manner
Leaders must recognise the global shift and requirement when implementing global strategies, locally. These diversity and inclusiveness are ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, age, thinking styles, and etc. An inclusive environment where all voices are gathered, and their opinions considered. At Netflix, CEO Reed Hastings accredited the company’s success to its working culture. The organisational culture advocates constructive criticism and positive feedbacks, with alternative solutions to be given anytime and anywhere (Hal 2020).
Communicating effectively is essential in a diverse team. Language and cultural barriers are biggest hurdle but can be overcome through effective global communications and training. At Johnson & Johnson, launches culturally suitable efforts for every region. An example is its live video conference on mutual perceptions, diversity, and respect.
A multiplicity of measures to fit each global environment to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a constant work in progress. Chemical giant, BASF strategize by giving a voice to employees who might not otherwise express their opinions. Bayer uses eLearning modules for continuing education to employees. Thus, reminding employees, the company’s values, and expectations.
Seek diversity and create inclusion which catalyses innovation, such as training hiring managers to ensure the hiring criteria and process is inclusive. Drive accountability and encourage employees to express prejudices. Ford Motor Company uses diverging insights and perspectives as prospects to increase customer satisfaction (Aperian Global 2021).
Leadership models will evolve as we have seen the changes in the last century, through post world-war era, industrial revolution, and now post-pandemic 2020. The integration and inclusiveness of the world economy has compelled it not to be incompetent and complacent. I see the importance of leaders to be visionary and be prepared to tackle tomorrow’s challenges and no single solution will fit all situations as I have experienced it when I tried to adapt in the multitudes of culture that I have worked in. The workplace impacts behaviours and inclusive behaviours motivates employees whilst deterring the rise of cultural differences. Thus, colleagues work together for a common goal whilst putting aside their differences.
Geert Hofstede who died at 91 on 12th February 2020, left behind a legacy that is now applied in businesses that apprehends the importance to acknowledge that people who thinks differently can act together to achieve goals.
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