Teams with a mixture of skills, knowledge, experience, and behavioral traits tend to outperform homogeneous teams. Intuitively, this makes sense: you’re able to handle a broader array of challenges if you have a broader array of tools. This diversity, however, comes with a price. Managing a team of people who think differently, act differently, and make decisions differently, to name just a few traits, can be challenging.
Ask most managers where they spend most of their, so-called, non-productive time, and most will answer: “Dealing with people issues!” Differences and disagreements are a natural part of working together. In a healthy organization, where there are appropriate channels and ways of expressing differences, a certain amount of disagreement or conflict is energizing and often creative. However, when differences lead to personal confrontation, inappropriate aggression, or intolerably high levels of tension, something must be done to mitigate the tension and redirect the behaviors of those involved.