Successful leaders recognize that people have differences whether they be physical, generational or cultural. Effective management of these differences requires leaders to break down preconceived barriers, while celebrating differences among employees. Since diversity is important to business what strategies can leaders adopt to enhance diversity in the workplace?
Managing diversity requires endorsing fairness versus uniformity. Fairness and uniformity are not the same. Leaders must recognize that treating everyone exactly the same does not necessarily mean you are demonstrating fairness. Respecting diversity necessitates leaders to treat people fairly, while respecting the differences that make individuals who they are. For example, diversity can be emphasized by avoiding scheduling mandatory meetings on cultural holidays.
Managing diversity requires developing self-awareness. Leaders must learn to manage their own attitudes and behaviors. For example, when conducting a job interview, be aware of self-imposed assumptions towards certain ethnicity or gender as well as, be cognizant of how you respond to certain communication. Self-awareness is critical to developing a safe, fair workplace for diverse groups of people.
Managing diversity requires conducting honest employee assessments. Leaders often conduct employee reviews and assessments. When preparing for a review, you must examine employee attitudes in relation to how they work with others. If you notice that an employee is only delegating tasks to a certain race, or if an employee only caters to the ideas of a certain age group, it is your responsibility to address the issue.
Managing diversity requires encouraging interaction. When diversity-related issues occur, effective leaders discuss concerns in a non-confrontational manner. For example, employees should be encouraged to work with others of different backgrounds and generations. Initiating interactions such as this encourage employees to discover different communication styles, talents, and goals.
Promoting diversity has many benefits upon a company’s bottom-line. Click here for more information on developing diversity in the workplace.