Today’s business world is more diverse than ever. Workers come from a wide variety of racial, cultural, religious, and other backgrounds. This allows modern managers to tap into a wider range of skills, insights, and abilities than ever before, giving them enormous advantages over their predecessors. It does occasionally create challenges when forging individuals into a cohesive team, however.
Creating a common sense of purpose among coworkers is the best way to respond to this issue. It establishes a sense of unity while maintaining the advantages of diversity. But how can a leader inspire others to share his or her vision? By taking the following steps:
1. Communicate the vision – Explain to the team members the purpose for which they’ve been brought together. Do so in a passionate way that conveys your own enthusiasm while also stressing the benefits of achieving the stated goal. This may or may not include monetary incentives. People are also motivated by goals that accomplish worthy ends, such as helping others or enriching community life.
2. Establish roles – All team members bring a unique skill set to the project, and their roles and objectives should be determined with this fact in mind. But also be sure that they understand how their efforts will be measured, and make those benchmarks both measurable and achievable. Nothing demoralizes persons more than being assigned tasks that are beyond their ability. At the same time, their goals should not be easy to accomplish. They should have to rise to the occasion, bringing out the best in themselves during the process.
3. Break the larger scheme of things into smaller pieces – “Increasing customer satisfaction survey scores by 50% within 90 days” is fine as an overarching statement. But exactly how can it be achieved? By setting a series of intermediate goals for team members to work towards, and by ensuring that they understand how their efforts fit into the big picture.
4. Work towards consensus – Brainstorming is an essential part of the teamwork process. Encourage each person to lay his or her ideas, thoughts, concerns, etc., out on the table for all to see and consider. And, while you’re at it, lay your own out there as well for open feedback, even if it’s critical. It’s from such open, honest communication that consensus is formed, inspiring each person on the team to contribute and to take ownership of the project.