Few Rules for Teams with Diverse Individuals

Shafreen Anfar
2 min readDec 9, 2019


Diverse individuals are like different donuts here!

Teams are formed with bunch of people to achieve a shared goal. Each team member has fundamentally different view points, distinct skill sets and varying backgrounds. These differences are exactly why teams have the potential to achieve impressive outcomes. They bring in different perspectives, multiple expertise, unique insights and ideas in order to find solutions for complex problems that no single person could have come up with.

But there is a small caveat!

Difference helps innovation but on the flip side difference breeds conflicts.

Also, many teams practice lateral decision making as opposed to hierarchical decision making. Every individual, junior or senior, treated equally nullifying rankings and positions of each individual. Team members are expected to step forward when situations warrant, providing the leadership necessary, and then step back to allow others to lead. These practices could open up potential hot spots for conflicts. Conflicts are further amplified when the team is full of high performers because they always have opinions :). They make debates more interesting and colorful.

Analogically speaking, high-performing teams are like nuclear fission reactors. They generate a lot of energy with high efficiency but could go haywire if you don’t moderate the process with water.

To preserve diversity and reconcile differences, everyone should have a clear picture of what being a good team member looks like. The rules below play the role of water in nuclear fission reactors. They keep the team in-tact resulting a supportive, collaborative team culture, where diverse individuals can interact productively in pursuit of the group’s shared purpose. In short, it is all about valuing the differences and building a reputation for being selflessness.

Note: Following rules were extracted out from the book [1].

Rules Inventory from HBR’s Manager’s Handbook