Effective use of Diversity in teamwork

Kirjoittaja: Samuli Kaidesoja

14 joulukuun, 2021

Lähdeteos: The Diversity Bonus

Lähdeteoksen kirjoittaja: Scott Page

Teoriapisteet: 2

Preface

Team is always a combination of people, and there are as many different people on the team as there are people on the team. Scott Page’s book The Diversity Bonus focuses on how you are able to unlock the team’s full potential as a leader while using the diversity within the team. Diversity isn’t a bad thing at all, and when you learn to use it effectively in teamwork, the team is going to be close to unstoppable.

Workforce diversity is more than just a right thing to do. It can also improve the ending result, and Scott Page’s book shows some ways on how and why. Some people are still afraid of the change but trusting diverse people and their capabilities without being prejudiced towards them is one of the keys to success in the modern world.

The Idea

The original idea about diverse ways of thinking and performing is not new, it can be found from the writings of Aristotle and from leading style of Lincoln and his generals during American Civil War. The core idea is, that diversity is divide and it can be categorized, and after categorizing the diversities within the team those diversities can be put to effective use. There are many kinds of diversities. We have physical diversities, which includes for example different races, genders and genetic diversities. Those were used on World Wars, when it was decided that who fits physically the best in different roles of combat. Other than physical ones, we have mental diversities, which include for example sexual orientation, pessimism, optimism, autism, aspergers and so on.

Mental Diversity Example

Let’s take a concrete example on how this can work. We have a team which consists leading woman. In addition to her, we have 4 men, one is over optimist, one is pessimist, one is solution orientated and one is a strict realist Joining them we have 2 more women, other one of them has autism and has and exceptional memory and calculating capabilities, but her social skills are almost nonexistent. Other woman is motivated to get the best result possible by any means necessary. Here we have a team of 7 people. How can the leader unlock the best potential out of the team?

Creating roles is the key. The team can work for example like this:

Optimist: HR responsibility on the team. Keeps their mental health in check and creates trust and belief the the team will succeed.

Pessimist and realist: Analyzing the product. Thinking what can go wrong and what could be developed and bringing the suggestions to the rest of the team.

Motivated and solution orientated: Analyze the feedback and suggestions from pessimist and the realist, and creating a possible solution, on how product issues can be solved and improved.

Woman with autism: Works on her exceptional strengths. Keeps the team’s economy in check, remembers what has been done and what still needs to be done, is responsible for coding or internet issues while creating marketing for the product. Feels easier interacting only with the optimist or the leader, and they help her with the ways they can. Interacting with too many people and switching the person responsible is often difficult to autists.

Leader: Keeps all this in check. Pretty easy, right?

Most of the business companies have a lot to learn on how to use their workers more effectively, instead of just making them use more hours in their work.

Physical diversity example

According to studies, effective roles in teamwork can increase the productivity of the team by 80% compared to a team, which doesn’t have clear roles. I explained earlier on how the diversity can work on mental accord, but how about physical?

Let’s take another example here. We have 10 people building a house. We have 7 males and 3 females, and two of the 7 males are under 170cm, others are over 185. One of the females is 155, two others are 170. How do we get this team to build a house as effectively as possible?

Roles can be created like this:

Males 1/2/3/4: Physical work. Carrying the equipment, and all the parts which are needed, and building the house.

Short Male 1/Female 2: Tying up the part to the forklift or the crane, making certain, that they are tied up properly and secured.

Female 1: Shortest, the most petite one. Can drive the crane or a forklift.

Female 3/Male 5: Can get parts off the forklift or crane

Short Male 2: Makes certain that all the equipment works and fixes those if necessary.

Summary

The examples are not completely waterproof but give a good sight on what the book was about. Of course, in this essay these things are simplified, and in the reality the possibility and necessity to adapt is a lot bigger. But the bottom line is that when you want the team to work, create roles in which each diversity can play with their strengths, no matter if they are mental or physical. Everyone has some strengths they just need to be used correctly.

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