Diversity Makes Stronger Teams 


It’s  International Women’s Month!  Let’s celebrate the strong women we know, work with and work for. More than just gender, it’s about bringing diverse thoughts, styles, opinions, and skills to the table. It’s about challenging each other to grow (you know, GROW BIG OR GO HOME®).  

One leader was recently asked about her staff meetings (who attends and participates). She responded, ‘Everyone has a seat at the table – the receptionist, the support folks in the back…everyone!’ 

The interviewer asked, ‘What does the receptionist have to do with the strategic vision of the company?’ The supervisor replied, ‘Everything.’

She explained that she purposely seeks team members with different backgrounds, expertise, and roles and welcomes the healthy debate of ideas. She does not believe that years of experience, specific roles or even educational degrees somehow determine the worth of one’s opinion and participation.

Think about some of the strongest companies you know. Are they made up of people who all came from ‘inside the industry’ or who think the same?  Not likely.

Strong teams are diverse

They are made of people who come from different walks of life with various experiences and bring new ideas and innovations forward. It’s like adding carbon to iron to make steel… the combination produces a result that is greater than the sum of their individual parts.

Is your organization or team like that? Does everyone have a seat at the table? More than just a seat, is everyone’s opinion valued and, more importantly, solicited? For many reasons – from team morale to retention and just running a successful, inclusive business – it’s incredibly important to hear and honor those putting in the hard work.

It’s a delicate balance – this thing we call ‘work’ – especially if we want it to be rewarding. How many, regardless of our role or gender, can commiserate with America Ferrera’s character in the film Barbie, when she said, “…We have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong…you have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas.”

Links between success and diverse thought

That is one heck of a job description! And it’s a great reminder for leaders: Be aware of the challenges your team members face, be open to acknowledging and helping everyone on the team overcome obstacles or fears, and give equal opportunity. After all, a recent article in Forbes said that more gender-diverse management teams run stronger businesses and have significantly less turnover and more overall revenue. There’s a clear link between gender diversity in leadership and improved financial performance, including higher returns on equity and profitability.  Who wouldn’t want that!?

How do you invite people to the table in an authentic way that welcomes their opinions – especially those from underrepresented groups or who might not usually have a voice?

  • Show genuine interest in their perspectives and experiences. Recognize the unique insights they bring to the table, regardless of their background or position.
  • Be clear about why you’re inviting them to the table. Explain the value you see in their participation. Ask for their input on how the process can be more inclusive and act on the feedback you receive.
  • Use language that is inclusive and avoids stereotypes or assumptions about their abilities or contributions, and avoid dominating (or allowing others to) the conversation.
  • Offer opportunities for leadership and decision-making roles within the group or project.
  • Invest time in building genuine relationships with all team members, showing that you value them as individuals. Hold yourself and others accountable for maintaining an inclusive and respectful atmosphere.

Diverse perspectives lead to better decisions

This stems from bringing different experiences and viewpoints to the table and challenging assumptions, which lead to more comprehensive solutions. Diverse teams foster various ideas and approaches, leading to more creative solutions and groundbreaking innovations. 

It’s not about quotas or tokenism; it’s about harnessing the full potential of the human talent pool. Let’s embrace the extraordinary women and men shaping our world and building a future together!

Grow Big or Go Home!®