At the very least, a good leader surrounds herself with good people - particularly people who have strengths where she is weak. A leadership team full of clones is a very risky thing – they see things in the same way, they think similarly, they have similar weaknesses and similar blind spots. We seek the kind of diversity that ensures that there are various points of view, thinking and learning styles, approaches to business and life, interests and concerns. In a patriarchal country with a racist past, diversity includes gender, race and ethnicity. When diversity is well managed, it can improve the quality of decision-making as well as enhancing the reputation of the team.
Perception is everything. The team shows commitment to equal opportunity and inclusion is likely to win the trust of the broadest spectrum of stakeholders – and trust is currency! The leader who stands up for what is right, and makes a deliberate effort to bring into the team good people who represent the diversity of our population, is likely to be trusted, and sets the example to others. See Rosalinde Torres' TED Talk on leadership in the 21st century: http://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader/transcript?language=en and Susan Conantuono's TED Talk on the gender gap: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_colantuono_the_career_advice_you_probably_didn_t_get#t-822011.
What have you done to broaden the diversity in your own team? Have you given up, claiming that “they are just not out there”? How are you developing people who can bring diversity to the team? How could you do it better? Where could you find likely candidates who could be trained? What industries have the kind of people you are looking for? How could you attract them into your team?
Good luck in moulding your team into a powerfully diverse concentration of talent. As a team leader, you will be leaving a truly invaluable legacy. Keep tuned for the next article on talent.