Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2017.1507

One important benefit of teamwork is the exchange and integration of diverse knowledge, experience, and opinions group members bring to the table. However, demographic attributes—such as race, gender, and functional background—may create asymmetric influence patterns between group members in diverse groups because these demographic characteristics are often associated with status differences. In the current research, we examine how to attenuate this disparity in member influence in diverse groups by focusing on the role of a leader’s gazing behavior. Across two studies, we found that asymmetric influence patterns in which high-status members tend to wield greater influence in group decision-making processes were attenuated when a leader increased their visual attention toward low-status members in the group. This reduced disparity in member influence which in turn improved group information elaboration and group performance in a collective decision-making task. Theoretical and practical implications for leaders’ visual attention, diversity, group decision-making processes, and group performance are discussed.

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