The contemporary globalized business setting often implies the necessity to work in vastly diverse teams, which suggests that the managerial and leadership approaches need to be altered accordingly. Although there is no homogenous framework that could be used as the ultimate approach toward managing the work of a diverse team, several practices that have shown the best results have been identified. By using empathetic leadership and showing appreciation for cultures and needs of all participants, one can attain high performance results within a short time period.
Multiculturalism through the Lens of the Group Theory
As a notion, multiculturalism is rather straightforward in its meaning. In its most general sense, the concept of multiculturalism can be explained as the coexistence of two or more cultures. In addition, the phenomenon of multiculturalism can also be approached from the position of the Group Theory. The latter posits that multiculturalism should be viewed as “both an acknowledgement of the fact of cultural plurality and a valuation of that pluralism” (Fitzpatrick, 2005, p. 192).
Best Practices for Leading a Culturally Diverse Group
In a cross-cultural setting, the development of homogenous norms that will allow all team members to accept shared values and follow them accordingly is the first step in leading a diverse team. The creation of a clear group identity that will encompass the characteristics of all participants and promote active sharing of cultural values and norms should also be seen as the possible solution to leading a culturally diverse group (Velarde & Ghani, 2019). In addition, as a transformational leader, who invites participants to engage in personal and professional improvement, one should focus on fostering active communication and development of friendships between the members of different cultural backgrounds.
However, the development of cultural competence appears to be by far the most important strategy in addressing issues in multicultural groups. The specified change leads to the creation of understanding in each team member of the needs and intentions of the others, thus removing the very premise for conflicts to occur. Thus, the promotion of cultural competence offers the best outcomes for managing multicultural teams.
The suggested strategies might require additional efforts to be implemented and will involve dealing with several impediments. For example, the introduction of homogenous norms for shared values will imply performing thorough and exhausting research into the cultural specifics of each team member. In addition, even with sufficient compromises made, some team members may be resistant to accepting the proposed standards, which will mean introducing additional strategies for overcoming resistance to change (Lassiter, Norasakkunkit, Shuman, & Toivonen, 2018). Finally, the creation of cultural competence in employees takes the greatest amount of time of all strategies listed above, which means that an organization may not be able to implement it.
The approach that fosters friendship between team members offers quite obvious benefits both to participants and leaders. By creating a positive emotional rapport with people belonging to other cultures, one can share knowledge effectively and learn new skills. Moreover, the shift in people’s perspective on managing the cross-cultural dialogue will open new possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration and the enhancement of corporate performance (Lambert, 2016). In addition, the development of a positive change that the second approach suggests will lead to improved workplace ethics and the change in the approach toward communication, in general. Namely, the subject matter will be perceived as an important process facilitating the improvement in the overall performance of the company and the delivery of the required outcomes.
The creation of cultural competence in employees, in turn, leads to the best outcomes since it obliterates the very grounds for conflicts. By helping every team member to understand from where the others are coming in their actions, one fosters the environment of mutual support and cooperation. Finally, by constructing a group identity, one will prevent participants from groping into smaller teams that will lead to the us-versus-them mentality (Fernando & Patriotta, 2020). The latter is particularly dangerous when cultures known for the presence of long-lasting issues between them are forced to coexist in a single workplace.
Best Practices for Leading an Age-Diverse Group
Unlike the environment represented by diverse cultures, the setting where people of varied ages are expected to cooperate is believed to produce few challenges. The main issue that a leader may have in the described context is the hierarchy issue, namely, the conflict between older participants and the younger ones. Therefore, the focus on creating shared norms and information sharing is likely to lead to the best outcomes.
Difference in Goals
In age-diverse groups, most conflicts stem from incongruences between the goals of team members of different age. Therefore, the creation of shared goals and values seems to be the perfect solution for the specified issue. In addition, the focus on sharing vision and values will help to distract representatives of each age group from their cultural differences. The specified goal can be achieved by performing cultural research.
Difference in Interventions
The inconsistency in the approaches that each age group utilizes in the workplace is another source of conflict. Thus, the introduction of homogenous standards for approaching workplace issues is highly recommended. Once the premise for confrontations is removed, team members will start seeking for the points of contact with one another. As a result, staff members will be able to collaborate effectively in a multidisciplinary setting.
Preparation and Training for the Group Leader and Additional Resources
Given the issues listed above, it is expected that a leader should be offered extensive preparation and training. Namely, one will have to focus on building the skills of a transformational leader to implement change in employees’ behaviors in the workplace. Moreover, the development of cultural competence with the help of extensive training is required. For this purpose, a leader will need to consult additional resources such as diversitybestpractices.com (DBP, 2020).
DBP. (2020). Employee resource groups. Web.
Fernando, D., & Patriotta, G. (2020). “Us versus them”: Sensemaking and identity processes in skilled migrants’ experiences of occupational downgrading. Journal of World Business, 55(4), 1-0.
Fitzpatrick, T. (2005). New theories of welfare. Macmillan International Higher Education.
Lambert, J. (2016). Cultural diversity as a mechanism for innovation: Workplace diversity and the absorptive capacity framework. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 20(1), 68.
Lassiter, C., Norasakkunkit, V., Shuman, B., & Toivonen, T. (2018). Diversity and resistance to change: Macro conditions for marginalization in post-industrial societies. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 812.
Velarde, J. M., & Ghani, M. F. A. (2019). International school leadership in Malaysia: Exploring teachers’ perspectives on leading in a culturally diverse environment. Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Management, 7(2), 27-45.