Everyone is “special” in his or her own kind of way. Leading and making teams work means taking into account connect with individuals. Great leaders are ones who understand how to connect and speak to each person on their team.

One of the first dynamics is individuality. Not everyone you lead understands things the same. Some need lots of data to process decisions. Some only need a compelling reason to move. Others want to see other team players move first.

In our modern era, whatever that means, IQ (intelligence quotient) has come as one of the metrics used to place people in some professions and roles. Another feature of our era is now emotional intelligence. According to Wikipedia, Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.

People do life and respond to others based on their worldview, which is another complex discussion. A rabbit hole this post does not have the scope to cover. Then there is another part of the equation, which I think we’re only on the verge of exploring and honing. The issue cultural diversity.

Culture, in a broad sense, is how people are raised. Their practices and norms, usually as passed on to them by their parents or community.

Culture hugely influences or informs everyone’s worldview. This presents another paradigm / dynamic in leading and teamwork. By default, consciously or otherwise, we assume everyone has the same cultural lens and sees or should see how we see.

But that is not the case. Leaders and teams that do not consciously take this into consideration fail at effective leadership and teamwork, respectively.

A celebration of cultural diversity is deeper than acknowledging cultural differences. It is about embracing them and living and leading in a way that acknowledges and leverages them. By leverage I don’t mean manipulate. I mean understand enough what to draw from each person and the things that have shaped them culturally.

Note: cultural diversity is deeper than racial diversity. Skin colour is only a tip of the iceberg. Sometimes people with the same pigment have cultural issues and tensions with each other. It is possible for people with different melanin levels to have a culture in common.

Embracing diversity means immersing ourselves, in one way or another, in other people’s worlds [Click to Tweet]

Diversity is a great, rich tool if you make it work for you. Misunderstand or be oblivious to it and it will obliterate you, your team and organisation. Cross-cultural success depends heavily on cultural intelligence.

To what extent have you made provision for it?

[Photo Credit: Dominic’s pics]

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world