Leading a diverse team can be as rewarding as it is challenging. Leading people is a skillset that evolves over time, with experience, dedication and a resolve to learn how to effectively inspire and lead a diverse team of people. A successful team is formed when leaders understand individual’s strengths and weaknesses, leverage everyone’s unique talents and encourages teamwork and individual contribution.
In addition to the roles and responsibilities as a leader, you must also know how to effectively work with different personalities. Even in some of the most high-performing, healthiest teams, it is inevitable to have personality clashes, as a result of communication differences, leadership styles or personal opinions or values. Knowing how to effectively deal with different personalities in your team and workplace, you’ll be able to achieve your goals, maintain a sense of peace and embody a great company culture.
Here’s our top tips on working with and leading a team of different personalities.
Prioritise shared goals
You and your team are all on the same side. You’re all working towards a common goal, and this should be what unifies all people, regardless of their personality. An effective leader will unite their diverse team through the prioritisation of a shared purpose and goal.
Don’t take it personally
Conflict happens. It’s natural for people to disagree (in a healthy, professional way), but it can feel personal when it comes down to personality differences. When this happens, it’s important to always keep in mind that people behave based on their own perceived experiences. It’s not a reflection of you. Creating space between you and other’s behaviour will fast-track your experience with leading a team with different personalities.
Seek to understand
First and foremost, leaders must always seek to understand. Suspending judgement based on personality will ensure you understand them on a deeper level the individual and can effectively leverage their unique talents and guide their contribution to the team and shared purpose.
Flexible communication styles
Everyone communicates differently, and it’s your role as a leader to know and understand how each member of your team communicates. Try adapting your approach to suit that of the person. If someone is introverted or quiet in large groups, maybe a one-on-one is the most effective situation.
At the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that we are all just flawed, complex people, living out a set of beliefs and experiences that have shaped who we are today. As much as we try to separate work and life, there are situations that influence our general mood and how we show up at work. Creating a psychologically safe workplace will go a long way to ensure each individual feels seen, respected and involved within the team.