Considering diversity: The positive effects of considerate leadership in diverse teams

Considering diversity: The positive effects of considerate leadership in diverse teams

By
Astrid Homan, Lindred Leura Greer
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations.
2013, Vol. 16, Pages 105-125

Three studies examined the role of leader consideration in diverse teams. Based on the categorization-elaboration model, we argue that leader consideration can address the negative group processes that result from categorization processes in diverse teams as well as influence the perceptions of the team’s diversity. Studies 1a and 1b focus on the leadership preferences of members of heterogeneous versus homogeneous teams. Results show that participants faced with the prospect of working in a diverse team had a higher preference for considerate leadership than participants expecting to work in a homogeneous team. In Study 2, we examined whether diverse teams indeed function better with a leader who scores higher on considerate leadership, and whether this can be explained by changes in the ways in which the leader and followers perceive the team’s diversity. An interaction between group diversity and consideration shows that highly considerate leaders improved team functioning for heterogeneous (but not homogeneous) teams, and that leader individuation, or the ability of the leader to see members as unique individuals, explained the positive effects of considerate leadership on the functioning of diverse teams.