Leading a Diverse Team in Turbulent Times

Collaboration Connection Team Brainstorming Unity

The leader of an organization sets the tone of the culture within that organization. Whether it’s a sports team, a small business or a country. Whoever is at the helm dictates the vibe of the tribe. If the leader is anxious, the team is anxious. If the leader is a maniac, the people he leads will be restless, irritable and discontent.

 

While we can’t control people, only how we react to them, we as leaders, need to be well aware of the nation’s climate, external forces and the constant barrage of negative news, mass shootings and natural disasters that we consume daily and be vigilant about not letting it adversely affect your company or place of employment.

 

At Peralta Design, our strength is in our diversity. We have so many different cultures, genders and nationalities represented amongst our team members under our American Flag: Black, White, Latino, Greek, Peruvian, Mexican, Italian, Dominican, Puerto-Rican and Irish to name a few. Like the TV show “This Is Us” we are a microcosm of what the America we dream of should look & feel like. Different cultures coming together as a unified, talented and dedicated team delivering a superior customer service experience through our H.I.T. Value System: Honesty, Integrity and Transparency.

 

But what happens when the weight of the world starts dragging us down? How do you make sure morale, productivity and creativity stays on 100?

 

Here are some things that help keep our team firing on all cylinders:

 

  1. Stay Positive at all times.

I believe there is a special place in the Cosmos where all the good ideas live. As a creative agency, we have to have a direct line to that place in the heavens. It is an abundant and unlimited resource that never runs out, and all you have to do is tap into it. The only way to access it is if you have an open, positive mindset. The energy in your team also needs to be positive otherwise you get cut off from this most precious natural resource. If you run a team that is in the idea business like we are, you need everyone on board with this one. You never know who on your team will have that breakthrough ‘eureka’ moment, so becoming aware of this concept is the first step. If you find yourself or one of your team members down due to current events, which will happen (we’re human), you let it run it’s course until they come out the other side, but don’t let anyone get stuck there for too long.

 

  1. Wear the world like a loose garment.

If we stop and think about it, we can always rationalize at least one good reason to not get out of bed in the morning. When things start to weigh us down, remember your purpose and make a gratitude list. Before you walk into that office, think about how much baggage you are carrying with you. Do you really want to drag all of that mental luggage with you all day? What can you let go of? How much of it can you really control? Think of the people that count on you to do your best each day, and get up and go make a difference.

 

  1. The Golden Rule.

We are not always going to agree on things , but being able to listen to each other and having the confidence to know that you have a voice within a team is critical. That confidence comes from others giving you the respect to value your opinion. A good leader will always have an open door to a team member that needs to express themselves. At then end of the day, there are common themes that are universal: justice, kindness, peace and treating others the way we wish to be treated. If someone on the team is struggling with these concepts, perhaps they just don’t do well in groups in general. Time to go!

 

  1. Empathy comes from thinking of others.

Something amazing happens when you do more listening than talking: you get to see how ‘the other side’ thinks! This is where empathy comes from. Different people have different perspectives. From those life experiences come different concerns, fears, and yes, prejudices. Keeping an open mind will help you look at things from a different angle and that’s where you begin to break down the stereotypes and misperceptions that may be blocking you from being a blessing to someone else.

 

  1. Throw your team into service.

At Peralta Design, our company culture is rooted deep in community service. While we cannot control what is happening around us, we can make a difference by helping those in need. Volunteering for the local United Way, speaking to students at Career Day and sponsoring a Back-to-School Supply Drive or collecting food & clothes for the needy are all simple service projects that will not only make an impact locally, but they will strengthen the team. We can often get ourselves worked up over external forces and when that happens, we become the victim. If you find yourself or a team member on the pity-pot more often than not, it’s usually because they’re thinking too much about themselves and not enough about other people.

 

  1. Have fun. Laugh a little (or a lot).

Racism, Social Justice, Politics, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Poverty and Nuclear War are heavy topics. They have always been part of the American fabric and part of life. Somehow, some way, we still have to lace up our boots and do the good works we are destined to do. As leaders, we are motivators first. If things get too heavy, its time to lighten the load with humor. Levity in difficult situations is often the common denominator and can be a good daily reminder to not take things so seriously. It can also be a powerful tool to help keep your team motivated. We just installed a brand new 80’s style arcade machine in the office. We have challenges among the team on some of our favorite childhood games like Ms. Pacman and Donkey Kong. We have company off-sites and do team lunches. We have an office mascot – Handsome the Frenchie (even though he’s getting a bit grumpy in his old age). All of that keeps things fun!

 

  1. Talk about the issues, don’t ignore them.

Monday morning staff meetings aren’t just for looking at the “hot list” and reviewing the ‘radar.’ It is also the perfect time to go around the table and check-in on each team member. Seems like each week there’s a new tragedy or disaster. Talk about it. Get it off your chest. As a leader you will get very good at sensing energy. If you sense a disturbance in the force, it’s time to check on your team, otherwise it could slow your efforts down. As a leader, you’ll get better at determining when to give people space and when to pull them in. The real science comes from determining which will slow your team down more: checking in on the disturbance or the disturbance itself. I would suggest that maintenance is always ‘cheaper’ than repair, so get in a habit of ‘nipping things in the bud’ so that you can keep the company or your team moving forward as efficiently as possible. Once you sit down and have real conversations with the people on your team, you’ll find that we’re much more alike than we are different. Now go back and see Tip #1.

 

Ramon has over 20 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.

Peralta Design is an award winning, think tank and digital creative house (with offices in Shelton, CT and Palm Coast, FL). We not only help monetize ideas and determine what the MVP, the Minimal Viable Product is for you, but we also handle everything from logo design and branding, to recommending technology, to building custom web applications and websites. We also develop mobile apps and create promotional videos. As I also mentioned, we work with entrepreneurs, startups and companies (large and small) like yours. We Launch Brands!®

Need help with your brand identity or want to overhaul your existing brand? Need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com 

Tell us about your next project at: http://www.peraltadesign.com/launchmybrand

Follow Ramon on Twitter @Peralta_Design

 

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About peraltadesign1906

Creative Director, Author, Inventor, Entrepreneur and Founder of Peralta Design www.peraltadesign.com
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