How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You: Practical Solutions for Today's Diverse Workplace
Buy Rights Online Buy Rights

Rights Contact Login For More Details

More About This Title How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You: Practical Solutions for Today's Diverse Workplace


If you're in a diverse team, you know employee differences can cause miscommunication, lower trust, and hurt productivity. . . It doesn't have to be this way!

The people you work with may be from a different generation, different culture, different race, different gender, or just a different philosophy toward work and life in general, but you need to work together toward a common goal. How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You explains how to dial down the differences, smooth out the friction, and play upon each other's strengths to become more effective, more productive, and less stressed. The keys are to find the common ground and identify hidden conflicts that are hurting productivity.

Many people shudder at the prospect of working with diverse groups of people, but they can't voice their fear or anxiety. At work, it's not OK or politically correct to say, 'I'm uncomfortable with this person.' In fact, if you do say something along those lines, your job may be at risk. Your company may terminate you for not being on the 'diversity bandwagon.' So you keep quiet and you keep your thoughts to yourself. But deep down, you are uncomfortable.

If you feel like this, it doesn't mean you're racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic, or any other negative label. It means you're struggling.

You're struggling to understand people, cultures, or values that are unfamiliar to you. You're struggling to do your job with teammates and coworkers who may have very different viewpoints or different approaches to communication than you have. You're struggling to overcome differences and pull together to achieve high performance at work.

Whether you're leading a diverse team, working in a challenging cross-cultural environment, or simply working with people who are 'not like you,' you need to be able to get along with everyone as a team, to get the work done. This book explains the skills you need to communicate, motivate, and inspire people to collaborate—even if they have very different values, lifestyles, or priorities.

  • Learn key steps that bring cohesion to diversity
  • How to have a constructive conversation about working alongside people who are different
  • The four magic words that make this easier and smooth over friction
  • What not to say—and why
  • Learn to set aside differences and get things done
  • Learn how to handle a racist, sexist, homophobic or offensive remark in a professional way
  • Retain your sanity when colleagues drive you crazy

The changing demographics of today's workforce bring conflicting viewpoints, perspectives, approaches, skills, habits, and personalities together in one place; whether that leads to synergy or catastrophe is up to you. How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You helps you turn a hurdle into an advantage so you or your team can do more, achieve more, and enjoy the ride.


Kelly McDonald (Dallas, TX; is the president of an award-winning advertising and marketing firm, and has been featured on CNBC, in BusinessWeek, CNN, and XM Radio. Her agency's clients include brands such as Toyota, Sherwin-Williams, Kimberly-Clark, Miller/Coors, Harley-Davidson, and Nike. In 2009, Advertising Age named McDonald Marketing one of the Top Ad Agencies in the U.S. across all disciplines. In 2014, Kelly was named one of the "10 Most Booked Corporate & Association Speakers" in the U.S.  In 2015, she was also named to the list of "Top Women Business Speakers You Need at Your Next Conference".


Acknowledgments xi

Part I Working with People Not Like You: How to Build Relationships and Foster Connections across Different Cultures and Values 1

Chapter 1 “I Used to Just Be Able to Do My Job—Now I Have to Be Politically Correct” 3

Diversity Fatigue—Why People Roll Their Eyes When They Hear the Word “Diversity” 6

The New Demographics 8

Working with People Not Like You is the New Normal 10

We’re Not Going Back to the Way Things Used to Be 11

Resentment is a Choice 15

Chapter 2 How to Break the Ice, Show Respect, and Build Trust with People Not Like You 17

Step 1: Break the Ice by Starting a Conversation 21

Step 2: Focus on the Person, Not Their Differences 22

Step 3: Find Common Ground—It’s There Somewhere 24

Chapter 3 How Do We Talk about Real Differences in People and Groups That Create Conflict or Hurt Productivity— Without Stereotyping or Offending? 29

How to Have a Constructive Conversation about Conflict with People Who Are Different from You 36

Four Magic Words That Make It Easier to Start a Conversation about Conflict 40

Chapter 4 Working with People Who Don’t Speak English 47

Chapter 5 Dealing with People, Groups, or Values You Don’t Like: How to Get Along and Work Together Anyway 55

Part II Leading People Not Like You—How to Get a Diverse Group of People to Trust Each Other and Work Together 63

Chapter 6 How to Break the Ice and Build Trust in Diverse Work Groups 65

Start Here 68

How to Break the Ice with Diverse Team Members 68

Leading a Virtual Team 70

Building Trust 71

Chapter 7 The Leader’s Role: Educating and Setting the Example 77

Making “We Value Diversity” Real for Your People 83

Dos and Don’ts for Leading People Not Like You 88

Chapter 8 Dealing with Conflict and Prejudice and Having Hard Conversations about Differences 93

Don’t Shy Away from Constructive Conflict 95

Dealing with Naysayers and Derailers 101

Chapter 9 Don’t Just Hire People Who Are Like You—But Avoid Tokenism 105

It’s Not as Simple as “The Best Person for the Job” 109

Bring It Back to Business 109

Don’t Hire the Wrong Person—Just to Satisfy a Desire for Diversity 110

Top Down Beats Bottom Up 111

Chapter 10 Navigating the Waters of Promotions and Professional Development 113

Chapter 11 Making Accommodations for Employees—Do You Have To? 123

Telecommuting, Parenthood, and Prayers, Oh My! 127

Bring It Back to Business 131

Conclusion 133

Index 135