The Richness of Diversity in Teamwork

On my senior year playing for the Nevada Wolf Pack Tennis Team, one curious fact that caught my attention was that among the seven girls from our team, each of them was from a different country. It is very common in college tennis to have foreign players being recruited to play for American universities. In the season of 2011, the UNR women’s tennis team had players from Brazil (me), Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, France, Netherlands, and Ireland. Having so many different backgrounds, I found my team to be unique and one of the reasons for our effectiveness and success. This uniqueness is called diversity.

Diversity is one of the most widely methods used to increase creativity and effectiveness of team. in practice, this means forming teams with individuals from different (cultural) backgrounds so the team becomes more heterogeneous. it does not necessarily mean having people from different countries. For many groups and organizations diversity may include having people from different fields of study, from different gender, and from different ages as members. Ultimately, however, what really matters in terms of diversity is the scope of creativity and the variety of thoughts and ideas that these members can bring to the team in order to improve and reach success.

Now, let’s think for a moment. So more heterogeneous the team, more creative the solutions are going to come up? Unfortunately, not necessarily.  The whole issue of diversity is naturally complex, also involving conflicts caused by differences in culture and thoughts. But the general assumption is that diversity should be favored because it improves  team’s creativity and performance.

Whether you like teamwork, or brainstorming, or not, the fact remains that ideas, concepts and decisions develop in a collective environment, and that is what ultimately favor. Let’s be honest. No one likes an overly decisive team leader, yet and indecisive leader isn’t a leader at all. The message I am trying to pass here is that, all the various roles are needed for effective team to take place.

How does diversity take place in the group where you work? Do you think homogeneity becomes an obstacle sometimes in decision making and problem solving?
I believe in the richness of diversity in Teamwork. What about you?

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