The challenge of managing diverse teams


The companies usually want have a diverse development, because it will useful for improve the comprehensive capacity of enterprises. Thus, the team work in enterprises frequently is the diverse team. In the general cognitive, the diversity is almost always equivalent to the gender or ethnic diversity. However, the diverse teams is not only limitation on this diversity for now, it is also consider on other forms of diversity, for example the difference age, education, firm tenure, and technical background (Knight, etc., 1999). Although the diverse teams can provided more exhaustive opinion than the single teams, the difficulty of management for the diverse teams is also higher. This is a challenge for the manager, but it also is an opportunities for improve the ability of leadership. Thus, this paper will expound that the challenge of managing diverse teams, and give the example for the successful leaders to elaborate the approach to solve these problems.


In indeed, it is very difficult for leaders to managing a teams, because the each team member has difference thinking, habit for working, discipline of life, and so on. However, the leader should assemble the power from everyone and work for a target. At the first, the advantages of diversity in workplace has three points. The first one is diverse experience. The co-workers have the unique experiences and perceptions when they work together, because they have the difference cultural backgrounds (Ingram & Media, 2015). Although each employee has the weaknesses derived from their culture, if they can strengthen the team’s productivity, they can use their strengths to complement the weaknesses and impact the workforce greater. Moreover, another advantage of work in diverse teams is learning and growth. When the employees work in diversity, they can learning from other team members and this will useful for their personal growth. In addition, this growth is not only helping the employees to get the new ideas or knowledges for workplace, they also can gain the social skills, such as how to communicate with the person from difference cultures. The final point, when people are not familiar with other cultures, they usually have an intensity manner of ethnocentrism and xenophobia. Then, it will break down the subconscious barriers if the employees can spend time to communicate with culturally diverse co-workers (Interactive, 2015).


On the other hand, the diverse teams also will bring some problems. There are two disadvantages for work on the diverse teams. Firstly, employees maybe will get the polarity viewpoints for one thing, because they have the difference culture and religion. The conflict from culture or religion maybe will trigger a drastic argue between the team members. Quarrel and angry will block the flow of teamwork, if the quarrel is not be restrained, the team maybe will be dismissed (Sammartino, O’Flynn & Nicholas, 2002). The communication issue is also a big problem for diverse teams. The team members for diverse teams usually come from difference countries, and they have the difference first language. Thus, when they are taking on teamwork, sometimes they will get the misunderstood for the points from other team members. However, the problem only happened on the initial stage of diverse teams, because when the members use long time to work together, the communication barriers will be reduced (Ingram & Media, 2015).


Certainly, this is a huge challenge for the leaders to manage the diverse teams. The managers should have more skills than manage normal teams. First at all, the managers should have higher leadership to control the teamwork, such as avoid getting frustrated and angry. Moreover, they need the better communication skills, the managers should guarantee each team member can understand their requires. The best managers for diverse teams should have an open-door policy. The open-door policy means that the leaders should listen to their employees to get the more information. The more informations is helpful for leaders to make decisions (Majlergaard, 2015). In the difference industry, the managers also need the difference specific skills. In the food retail industry, the diverse teams will helpful improve the diversity for the kinds of food. Compare with other industries, the most importantly principle of food retail industry still is the food safety. The managers are not only play the leader role on diverse teams, they also need as a standard keeper to specification the whole teamwork (Jayne & Diphoye, 2004). In addition, the professional knowledge of the own industry also is an indispensable skill for managers (Yeager & Nafukho,2012). In the food retail industry, as a successful managers, they should have an accurate taste for the popular interest. The leaders need have higher leadership when they manage the divers teams.


Ingram, D., & Media, D. (2015). Advantages and Disadvantages of Diversity in Workplace. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jun. 2015].

Interactive, H. (2015). Top Ten Tips: How to Manage Diverse Teams. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jun. 2015]

Jayne, M. E. A., & Diphoye, R. L. (2004). Leveraging Diversity to Improve Business Performance: Research Findings and Recommendations for Organizations. Human Resource Management. Winter 2004. Vol. 43. No. 4. Pp. 409-424.

Knight, D., Pearce, C. L., Smith, K. G., Olian, J. D., Sims, H. P., Smith, K. A., & Flood, P. (1999). Top Management Team Diversity, Group Process, and Strategic Consensus. Strategic Management Journal. Vol. 20. Pp. 445-465.

Majlergaard, F. (2012). The Top 5 Challenges Managers of Cultural Diverse Team are Facing. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jun. 2015]

Sammartino, A., O’Flynn, J., & Nicholas, P. S. (2002). Managing Diverse Work Teams: A Business Model for Diversity Management. Australian Centre for International Business.

Yeager, K. L., & Nafukho, F. M. (2012). Developing Diverse Teams to Improve Performance in the Organizational Setting. European Journal of Training and Development. Vol. 36. No. 4. Pp. 388-408.


4 thoughts on “The challenge of managing diverse teams

  1. Diverse teams and teams with not that much of diverse elements can both do a work well I think. I think instead of thinking how to lead a diverse team, it is better to reduce the diverse elements in a team.


    • I agree with you that reduce the diverse elements in a team is a good method, however, as a leader, he should has the enough power for control the diverse teams.


  2. Must agree the huge challenge for the managers to manage the diverse teams under the globalize business environment. For the companies which do not only consider the homeland market and also want to enter the abroad market, they really will need a diverse team to understand the different culture between countries. According to the article, the writer hold same idea with me the challenge is based on the culture difference and religion. And I should admit the communication would be also be a bigger problem, but it can be solved easily as with acceptable cost for translating service. Good job for mentioning ‘The managers are not only play the leader role on diverse teams, they also need as a standard keeper to specification the whole teamwork (Jayne & Diphoye, 2004). In addition, the professional knowledge of the own industry also is an indispensable skill for managers (Yeager & Nafukho,2012). In the food retail industry, as a successful managers, they should have an accurate taste for the popular interest. ‘


    • The members of diverse teams are working the same company, then although using the translating service is a nice idea, the leaders would not pay this cost for every meeting. So, this is a big problem for leaders.


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