How to Increase the Confidence of Your Team Members

"If you’ve ever been part of the same team as a “difficult” person (and who hasn't), you know from personal experience what research has shown:

The composition and norms in a team have an impact on the extent at which its members are able to innovate and perform at their best.

Commenting on the results of their 2012 study, Jack Zenger, CEO and Co-founder of Zenger Folkman, stated: “It is a well-known fact that women are underrepresented at senior levels of management. Yet the data suggests that by adding more women the overall effectiveness of the leadership team would go up.” [1]

Zenger’s statement refers to leadership teams. However, research that proves the potential above-average performance of diverse teams abounds for every organizational level.

Imagine a bell (normal) curve. The productivity of homogeneous groups would be in the middle, while the productivity of diverse groups would be either on the left side (below average) or on the right side (above average), depending on whether cultural diversity is ignored or properly managed.[2] Therefore, based on their potential for above-average performance when well-managed, gender diverse teams are smart business.

“How many women does the recipe for high-performing teams call for?” you may be wondering.

50 percent.

Researchers from The Lehman Brothers Centre for Women in Business, studied 100 teams with different proportions of men and women, and one of their fascinating findings is that when either gender is a minority in a team, the minority members don’t flourish to their full potential─they have lower life satisfaction, higher negative mood, and less commitment to the organization.[3]

They also found that,

When teams are 50 percent male and 50 percent female, the team’s psychological safety is optimal, the self-confidence of team members is also optimal, and so are experimentation and efficiency."(*)

* * *

So, there you have it: to increase the confidence of your team members, invite an equal number of representatives of each gender to be part of it.

Even better: take it to the next level and balance the ethnic composition of your team too.

Does your personal experience match the findings cited here? Share it in the comments section below.

* * *

(*) Excerpt from Chip In: How Men Can Help Women Who Lean In and Why They Should (In Press), by Sofia Santiago (with Daniela De la Chica)

[1] Zenger & Folkman (2012)

[2] Adler (1991)

[3] Lehman Brothers Centre for Women in Business (2007)

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