Blog 2: Managing diverse teams in a changing world and the role of leaders !

If the world is changing, leadership needs to change. Indeed, in the current 21st century, the world is in a fast-changing mode. The challenge of what it means to lead in this complex and changing landscape remains. Any organization must adapt to the changes, especially when working with a diverse team to operate effectively. Before looking out there, one needs to start engaging and managing it meaningfully with other experience differences. As the quote famous poet- Audrey Lorde, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences” (Lorde and Hall, 2004). Today’s workforce is a multifaceted environment with people coming from all walks of life. Many leaders believe diversity and inclusivity is a positive element while it still contains disparity within them. It starts to identify through the lenses. The way people view these prejudices affects their view of other things, such as religion, political beliefs, education, socioeconomic background, social culture, and different age groups

A famous quote from G. Hofstede said, National Culture cannot be changed, but we should understand and respect it”.  Just draw a real-life example of using its six dimensions of National Culture on a China company investing in ASEAN (Hofstede, 2011)

It outlines some of the ASEAN’s cultural diversity against the host country of China, where the leader asks to lead a team within the ASEAN region. The culture dimension reflects that there are differences given some ASEAN countries have similarity in dominant ethnicity group.

Those differences in masculinity, long-term orientation and Indulgence are the areas where being a leader needs a complete understanding of the individual and the meaning of difference, managing it effectively by using the differences of each dimension to be different together (Hofstede-Insights, 2020). 

The lack of collaboration, engagement, poor communication, lack of teamwork, and embrace hierarchy lead to failure to manage the business in the diverse and changing environment (Hofstede, 2011). Adapting to the changing climate drives positive collaboration between employees with greater responsibility and responsiveness in meeting the objective of the organization (Heinrich and Betts, 2003).  Leading to such change requires having a proper company resource and cost to facilitate the transition. The scholarly study suggests that synergy around people, systems and technology helps manage different aspects of change (Burke and et al., 2012). The roles of team leaders are essential to make it works primarily based on an integrative approach example of using psychology humour approaches (Martin and Ford, 2018). It needs to understand how to manage the first impression, aligning expectation, recognizing stressfully, managing feedback-seeking, building relationships, and perhaps using structured leadership development methods (Manderscheid and Ardichvili, 2008). In this scenario, operating activities in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia versus China will have different cultures; therefore, leaders must work collaboratively to pursue the common goals. Proper management practices help minimize conflict resolution in complicated situations (Burke and et al., 2000).

Complementary to the case, a positive aspect of diversity can help improve business performance, although it is likely to face challenges. In the study by Zaccaro, the business will evolve through a strong collaboration of teamwork, training, and construction group process (Zaccaro and et al., 2001). It also proves that solid teamwork is generally a source of strength to the organization that operates globally.  In addressing the masculine aspect, most of the ASEAN countries have a lower score than China. Hofstede’s study concludes that understanding the distribution of power from the culture dimension perspective helps avoid conflict within the organization (Hofstede-insight, 2020). It is critically important to prevent any negative part of diversity in the workplace, such as in the Indulgence aspect where satisfaction level is different from one country to another. Such an aspect could lead to increased staff turnover or talent retention if mishandled (Heinrich and Betts, 2003).  The challenge in today environment is for a leader to rethink the approach to this diversity. It needs consistently adjust and adapt to the changing climate—the ability to innovate beyond mere product and service through managing its diversity carefully. Harnessing diversity is beneficial to any organization as it leads to better resilience (Werner and Smith, 2001), enhances innovation and enables authentic community (Schultz and et al., 2011).

In the REFLECTION of this topic, the role of a leader is essential. A leader develops a transition process to ensure the diverse workforces apply collaborative efforts. Being a leader of managing a workplace of tomorrow is likely to be unlike anything we can imagine both in term of diversity and inclusion; they must lead by example to inspire, motivate, coach, and mentor to create better teamwork. A leader makes time to share and listen to each other story. It opens up empathy that drives better engagement and treats each other with respect and skill. It creates a better thinking process. Ultimately, the result is to collectively embark as a team that thrive in tomorrow’s world (Brett and et al., 2006).


Brett, J., Behfar, K., and Kern, M., 2006. Managing multicultural teams. Harvard business review, 2006-11, Vol. 84 (11). P.84-156

Burke, W., Trahant, J., and Koonce, R., 2000. Business Climate Shifts: Profiles of Change Makers. Routledge.

Heinrich, C. and Betts, B., 2003. Adapt or Die: Transforming Your Supply Chain into an Adaptive Business Network. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Hofstede, G., 2011. Dimensionalising Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2. Retrieved from

Hofstede-Insights, 2020. Home – Hofstede Insights Organisational Culture Consulting. [online] Available at: < comparison >  

Lorde, A. and Hall, J., 2004. Conversations with Audre Lorde. Jackson (Miss.): University Press of Mississippi.

Manderscheid, V. and Ardichvili, A., 2008. “A conceptual model for a leadership transition,” Performance Improvement Quarterly, 20 (3/4):113-129.

Martin, R. and Ford, T., 2018. The psychology of humour- An Integrative Approach. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Academic Press.

Schultz, H., Gordon, J. and Bowlby, S., 2011. Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life without Losing Its Soul. 1st ed. Minneapolis: John Wiley & Sons.

Werner, E. and Smith, R., 2001. Journeys from childhood to midlife. Risk, Resilience, and Recovery. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Zaccaro, J., Rittman, L., and Marks, A., 2001. “Team Leadership,” The Leadership Quarterly, 12: 451-483.

Published by SM CHONG

A natural communicator and presenter, charismatic personality, embrace new challenges with a positive, result-oriented approach. Extensive experience in leading and working with cross-functional teams to develop, define, and execute highly measurable sales & marketing strategies to business objectives. Working in an in-depth Multi-Cultural environment in the Pacific region over the past three decades in the Chemical industry, a good understanding of respective cultures is essential to drive and support the business strategy. A dynamic team player with exceptional business, technical, and incomparable interpersonal skills can lead by inspiration.

14 thoughts on “Blog 2: Managing diverse teams in a changing world and the role of leaders !

  1. Enjoy reading your blog, and I like “National Culture cannot be changed, but we should understand and respect it”. only understand and respect then able to manage diversity. Good insights.

    Looking forward to see your next blogs.


  2. Leading diverse teams is challenging! Effective leadership can be implemented through well understanding of different dimensions of culture especially Hofstede culture model. I do believe that diversity can benefit the company’s performance if the effective leadership is there. Good insights and thanks for sharing.


  3. I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the Asean China Hofstede comparisions! Found it interesting that Indonesia is high on the marker for uncertainty avoidance ! Good insights, thanks for sharing!


  4. Your research on the ASEAN cultural diversity is quite fascinating because it hits close to home! Likewise, your assessment on diversity and its indulgence aspect, where satisfaction level is different from one country to another, as a strategic component requiring careful consideration is definitely something we should all be keenly aware of to strengthen the good effects of diversity.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog posts!


    1. Constant effort and adaptation to the changes are the keys to managing diversity. I experience that ASEAN itself is already complex in managing it. Some extra thought during my reflection


  5. Like the quote that “A leader develops a transition process to ensure the diverse workforces apply collaborative efforts”. Good article. Thanks for sharing


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