Research demonstrates that diversity can have a positive impact on team performance, such as enhanced problem-solving ability. However, part of what ignites brilliant ideas in a diverse team are the sparks of debate generated during the problem-solving process.
Research shows that the social and cultural diversity in a team that can generate the type of debate that sparks creativity and enhances problem-solving can create a more mentally and socially taxing experience than what someone might experience in a homogenous group, where interactions may flow more easily.
However, the same research shows that friction, not flow, is what is most likely to deliver the enhanced team performance and creativity & innovation that keeps an organization on the leading edge.
So organizations need to find ways to reward and encourage the challenging interpersonal and mental work that leads diverse teams to the breakthrough solutions that propel organizations forward. Importantly, to benefit from the type of positive intellectual friction that ignites new ideas, organizations also need to effectively minimize the counterproductive forms of friction that can rob a diverse team of its innovative powers.
The research suggests that effective team and diversity management, taking into account the type of problem to be solved, the organizational context, relevant goals, mechanisms for people to express divergent views, and diversity's power as a valuable learning resource, can help teams to successfully navigate this paradox.
Let us help you mix the power of inclusive leadership and effective team and diversity management to ignite the sparks of diversity that can enhance creativity and team performance in your organization.