Creating a Diverse Leadership Team

The other day we talked about the different traits women bring to leadership role and mentioned an article from the NY Times entitled Twitter, Women and Power.

Aside from the benefits of having women in leadership, the other point of the article that captured my attention is this:

Companies sometimes protest that they can’t find qualified women. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School, said that the real problem is boards trying to replicate themselves and that plenty of women would add value to the Twitter board.

Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” ― Beth RevisAcross the Universe

 In the article, the author Nicholas Kristof is bringing to light the fact that as Twitter goes public, Twitter, a primarily female dominated site, there are not any women on the board of the company. Could it be that, in an effort to create a board of “kindred spirits” they are missing out on the qualities and experience women might bring to the table?

Think of one of the most famous teams of all time. Fortune Magazine contributor, Jerry Useem reminds us of one of the all time great teams:

The A-Team went off the air in 1987 – still wanted by the government – but television has never produced a better blueprint for team building. The key elements of its effectiveness: a cigar-chomping master of disguise, an ace pilot, a devilishly handsome con man, a mechanic with a mohawk and an amazingly sweet van.

This is a perfect example of a team that does NOT all look and think alike. They each bring something different to the table and therefore have far greater success than they would if the A Team were made up of all Mr. T or George Peppard.

When creating a team business owners need to consider the strengths of each of the participants. Rather than creating a team that all look and think alike, there is proven value in developing a diverse team of business leaders who provide different skills and perspectives.