There is an increasing body of evidence showing that diversity matters, especially when it comes from the top. Leadership teams of varying gender, ethnic and racial makeup perform better financially, experience less employee turnover, and have better customer orientation than their less diverse counterparts. They are also better at recruiting top talent, which leads to a cycle of increasing returns.
There are two types of employees: those who thrive in a team environment, and those who would rather work alone. Though these two groups can work together cohesively when they need to, they typically accomplish much more when allowed to do things their own way.
What is the secret of productive teams? For the longest time, Google believed that the best teams consisted of the smartest people who got on with each other. But an observation of 180 of its internal teams provided a surprising result: the "who" didn't actually matter. There was nothing showing that a mix of skills, backgrounds or specific personality types made any difference.
Differing opinions, divergent viewpoints, and conflicting ideas are healthy and central to progress. They broaden our perspectives, stretch our minds, and help us to arrive at the best possible strategy and practices. Research suggests that constructive disagreement is enormously important to the success of a team. It increases participation in decision making, encourages collaboration, reduces anxiety, and results in better choices and more creative thinking. If you want the best to come out of your teams, it pays to establish a conflict culture.
When it comes to harnessing the strengths of teams while avoiding the weaknesses, team leaders have a tough job. Not only must they capture the full diversity of knowledge contributed by team members, they must also provide the right motivators such that individuals feel enabled and engaged with their job. Get the balance wrong, even slightly, and the result can be ruinous.
In dynamic and competitive markets, it's almost universally understood that the old ways of working don't work any more. Every company has to think outside the box if it is to achieve higher levels of performance. Creativity is the tool that allows teams to work faster, and smarter, and quickly find their way to workable solutions to unique problems.
People have dedicated immeasurable hours to the study of personality theory in an effort to understand what motivates our feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Enthusiasts have been known to get so involved in personality typing that they use it to predict a person's health, career destiny, relationship potential, and even their sex drive! Once you've figured out your four letter code, you can spend hours on blogs and forums figuring out what's in store for you based on your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Look around the workplace, and it's clear that conversation isn't what it used to be. Across the office, people are frantically reading, typing, and hitting "send" on emails, texts and social media. We're communicating all the time, perhaps more than ever before. Ironically, everyone's too busy to have an actual conversation.
All work and no play can make Jack a very dull boy — and it can also lead to stress, absenteeism, and burnout. Even the most confident manager can find it difficult to motivate a diverse team of individuals who are so under pressure, they've forgotten how to enjoy their job.
Most managers and HR professionals are convinced that making work fun boosts an employee's ability to perform at optimum levels and deliver a better-quality service, even under the toughest of working conditions. But how do you go about lightening up your work setting?
In today's economic landscape, it's more important than ever for businesses to accomplish more with less; a process known as boosting productivity. Productive employees output more work per specific unit of time than less productive employees. It is this increased efficiency that makes the business money.
But keeping employees productive is hard work. Why? Because productivity is primarily an inside job. You can't force it on someone. It comes from within a person and, essentially, is a measure of their motivation to close down tasks within a clearly defined timeframe.
THE FINE PRINT: Myers-Briggs® and MBTI® are registered trademarks of the MBTI Trust, Inc., which has no affiliation with this site. Truity offers a free personality test based on Myers and Briggs' types, but does not offer the official MBTI® assessment. For more information on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® assessment, please go here.