How diverse is your team?

By Juwana Jackson

By now, most of us have begun to plan our resolutions, goals and visions for the new year. Before you plan any further, I urge you to build a team of supporters. Whether you hope to lose weight or begin a new business, a good team can help you endure the journey ahead. Consider this, when you get weary, who will remind you of your "why"? Who will encourage you all the way to the finish line? Who will challenge you? Who will tell you the truth even when it hurts? Who believes in your dream? Once you can answer these questions, you’re on your way to forming your team.

But let’s not stop there. We need to make sure our team is as varied as the obstacles we might face. Answer these 5 questions to help establish a diverse team.

1. Does your team consist of someone from the opposite sex? One obvious way to diversify a team is to add someone of the opposite sex. Research shows that males are more left-hemisphere controlled (logical) and females are more right-hemisphere controlled (intuitive, emotional). When we regard both viewpoints, it provides a more accurate and complete picture of situations than a one gender perspective. 

2. Who on your team has a different personality than yours? I tend to be an assertive, optimistic person. When I share my thoughts with people that are more passive than I, they help me understand how to work well with people with passive personalities. When I seek advice from people who are less optimistic than I, they help me clearly see the current state of the matter not just the potential state.

3. Does your team include someone from a different culture? One of my African team members told me that coming to the United States gave her a voice that she did not have in her country. In the place where she was born, women are considered subpar citizens. Not only did her statement help me appreciate my freedom of speech, but it gave me a greater awareness that some cultures still practice the oppression of women. Consequently, many women have voices that are never heard. After wrestling with this reality, I decided that F2F will always be a place where their voices are welcomed. 

4. Are you tapping into the resources of other generations? Although seldom consulted, youths can offer a fresh perspective on many situations. Their inexperience often contributes to a bold faith that adults occasionally lack. On the other hand, seniors hold a wealth of experience. For me, I’m usually aware of what I know and what I need to learn. But sometimes I don't realize what I don't know, and this is where the seniors on my team are critical. They are able to draw from their experiences and warn me of possible minefields ahead. 

5. Do your team’s talents compliment your talents? Sports teams consist of players and coaches. Players' talents are demonstrated on the field, court or rink. Coaches' talents are demonstrated in the strategy used in preparation and managing the game. Each has his or her respective place. In order to win, the talents of both players and coaches are essential. None of us can operate effectively in all roles. So, we need to seek out team members that are talented in the areas where we are lacking and trust their expertise.

We cannot accomplish our goals or reach our dreams without a team to aid us and cheer us along. As Ken Blanchard observed, "None of us is as smart as all of us.”  And a diverse team can make a big difference!

Now, it's your turn to share!

How diverse is your team? 

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