Teamwork is an Unnatural Act: #6 Appreciation of Differences

Team Ingredient #6

Appreciation of Differences: What is natural is to value team members with similar backgrounds and opinions. What is unnatural yet necessary is to embrace differences and creative tensions to generate better solutions and raise the “Team IQ.”

Actions: The leader is a powerful role model to the team for how to deal with differences.

  • Leaders need to embrace differences as they lead to breakthrough ideas. In studies on creativity and innovation, holding opposite and contrary ideas long enough leads to breakthrough ideas. IDEO, one of the leading design firms, encourages “wild ideas” and “build on other ideas” as some of their guidelines.
  • Leaders can help by encouraging the team to stay with the ambiguity, creative tension and dialogue as long as possible versus rushing to a decision.
  • The team IQ is a great metric for the group to evaluate themselves on. The team IQ should be higher than the IQ of any one individual.
  • The differences need to be understood and integrated into new innovations.

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