Well-managed Diverse Teams Can Be the Solution to Defeating Bias

Almost all bosses today want diverse and bias-free teams, but they also know that this is easier said than done because having a team representing various races, cultures, and genders is one complicated melting pot, and to top it all, they have to work together to make a project successful. In most organizations, such a team is hard to create and if they succeed in making a diverse team, the bigger challenge is managing the team to ensure they run like a well-oiled machine. The problem today remains that most companies’ anti-bias strategies are simply ineffective, so what’s the solution? 

Hiring, day-to-day management, & talent development is the three-pronged approach to remain bias-free

Bias in any form runs deep which makes it really hard to get rid off but if companies know exactly how to deal with it in a wise manner, they can do something about it with not too much capital spent. Hiring, day-to-day management, and talent development is the three-pronged approach to ensuring that workplaces remain bias-free. These three areas have been given by Joan Williams, a professor and the founding director of the Center for Work-Life Thought at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, who also reveals the four basic patterns of bias. First of all, some groups have to prove themselves more than others, second, some groups get away with narrower sets of behavior than others, third, bias trigged by motherhood or fatherhood and last, bias against a marginalized group at work causes conflict within that group. It’s been proved time and again that eradicating bias is great for business because as a team they have higher collective intelligence and therefore are better at solving problems. 

One needs to interrupt bias first before insisting on a diverse team

However, the key modifier is the management of a diverse team. “It is an important modifier, because if you bring diverse people onto a team who don’t share a whole set of cultural assumptions, for example, that can, without, and you don’t manage them in a way that communicates that everyone has been chosen for a specific skill set, and is valued for a specific skill set and that the team will be judged on how well they deliver as a team, then the divergences among the diverse people you’ve hired who don’t share that set of assumptions, that can lead to conflict and corrosion in performance,” says Williams. So far bias training and sensitivity training has been ineffective because of the input of bad quality which ensures the output of the same. Williams suggested interrupting bias instead by insisting on a diverse hiring pool because that is where it all starts and it does help to interrupt the same pattern of hiring the same people. “Design interview questions that are designed to test those qualities or those skills, and then ask those questions,” she added. Thirdly, since a lot of bias creeps up during meetings and hence managers should recognize the queen bees from the worker bees and hence, they should give credit to the ones who actually spur ideas. So, ask people to weigh in at meetups and lunch meetings to get ideas from different minds. 

Image credit: Dynamic Team Solutions

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