Overcoming the Challenges of Diversity

Topics: Personality psychology, City, Big Five personality traits Pages: 5 (1413 words) Published: April 13, 2008

Overcoming Challenges of Diversity

The forming of a high-performance and cohesive team is a delicate process that when done properly can reap great results. According to the text Tools for Teams, “effective teams go through three basic phases: formation, development, and renewal.”(Thompson, Aranda &, Robbins, 2000, p. 56) Each phase can prevent great challenges for each individual member of the team. It is an even greater challenge when team members are very diverse due to different personality traits, and differences in skills and abilities, as well as values and attitudes. Adding extra burden is strain brought on by geographical differences. These very challenges can be used as assets, and help create a very successful team. Let us see how this can be done.

Personality Traits
An individual’s personality can tell you many things about that person. Someone who is very ambitious could be very goal-oriented. Someone who is introverted may have a difficult time relating to others. One of the things that make everyone unique is the fact that we all manifest different personality traits. Understanding the differences in personalities is pivotal to the success of a high-performing team. There are many different types of Personality Traits that we must all try to understand in order to have a healthy working environment. Employers have to be very careful when dealing with a personality trait that will not help the working environment grow. I believe that we most all try reading into other people’s personality traits and understanding their behavior in order to have a healthy and professional working environment. We all face constant pressure outside of our team setting that could affect how we interact with our teammates. It is important not to trivialize anyone’s feelings as it could result in a flare-up. Constant personality clashes can jeopardize teamwork, and erupt into a major conflict. It is important that we take advantage of the differences that may exist in our personality to help us accomplish our team goals. Differences in Skills and Abilities

The key to becoming a successful team is getting “the right combination of skills and abilities to mesh so that the team can become one cohesive unit”, in which the sum is greater than its parts. (Thompson et al., 2000, p. 8) Gaining this type of synergy takes time, and quite frankly, time is something that is at a premium in our learning environment at the University of Phoenix-Online. The lack of face- to- face communication also presents a challenge that could prevent us from truly getting to know our team member’s skill sets and abilities. It takes commitment from each member of the team to make the time to use the online methods of communication that we have at our disposal work. Doing so will enable us to take full advantage of the diverse skills and abilities that teamwork can bring. We must guard against becoming discouraged, for such negative feeling will be detrimental to team success. It is important to realize that each member of our team comes from different backgrounds, and has different interests, levels of education and training that has helped to mold our different skills and abilities. Maintaining the proper perspective of these differences is vital to the success of our team. Instead of viewing different skills and abilities as liabilities, it is imperative that we treat these differences as assets and opportunities for each member to make their own unique contributions to team projects. This view encourages full participation from all of our team members, and helps to avoid feelings of intimidation or inadequacy from creeping up and sabotaging our team efforts.

Values and Attitudes

When you join demographic and personality characteristics; and individual difference characteristics are called values and attitudes. Values are broad preferences concerning appropriate actions or outcomes....
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