More new research on teams and how teams deal best with diversity, direct from INSEAD.
“Kleinâ€™s research focuses on leadership of groups which consist of people with diverse core, fundamental values â€“ groups where conflict is likely and it is difficult for the team to focus on a common goal. Klein specifically studied teams with diversity in work ethic- with some members who were hard-working, driven and internally motivated to accomplishing the task at hand, and other members who were more relaxed and not so motivated; as well as teams that varied in terms of respect for authority and traditional values.
What Klein found is that task-oriented leaders â€“ those that focus the group on the task by assigning roles and deadlines, and providing a lot of structure to the team â€“ can effectively lead values-diverse teams to perform well. â€œIf a leader doesnâ€™t provide structure, then you have trouble.â€
Less successful in leading values-diverse teams are relationship-oriented leaders, who tend to be warm and caring toward individual team members. â€œYou can imagine that that would be really helpful. Everybody would feel heard, everybody would feel included â€¦ What we find (though) is that it backfires. So when you have a leader thatâ€™s very warm, very considerate, and you have a very diverse group in terms of these values, it tends to exacerbate conflict.â€