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Leading In A Diverse Culture

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Having a diverse team that has unique individual perspectives can enable a business to get exceptional results. It is important that leaders embrace inclusive practices that promote diversity in their organizations. 

There are a lot of benefits that come with inclusion at all levels in an organization. The primary aim of a leader who wants to lead in a diverse culture is to create an environment fueled by engagement and innovation. Part of this process is to learn how as a leader you can hear, recognize and appreciate your team so that productivity can soar.

What is this Diverse Culture, do we Understand it?

A diverse culture is all about including different people, i.e. individuals from distinct races or cultures in an organization. We should understand, however, that the establishment of a diverse culture requires more than just inclusion. 

There should also be cultural respect toward different types of people. Leaders should, therefore, understand how culture can influence how other people perceive and understand the world. When it comes to work, this involves accepting different ideas and making sure that all deserving individuals are rewarded within an organization to show that they are not only employed to give a false impression of a diverse culture. 

How to Harness Diversity into Your Leadership

As a leader, you don’t need to have a separate program to harness diversity into your leadership. What you can do is integrate diversity into every process in your organization. That way, diversity can become a lens that you use to identify, develop and advance talent. 

This means that even from the point you recruit, you are not the only minority recruiter. You should have recruiters that understand how to incorporate diversity into the recruitment process. They should be able to relate to the diversity of the talent pool they recruit from.

All leaders should also understand that they have to build accountability into their work environments when it comes to their managers taking responsibility for cultivating a diverse work environment. 

If you are the only one who understands how diversity works, and why it should be integrated into your system, you might end up with managers who don’t feel accountable for diversity and inclusion. Managers are the ones who work directly with people, and they have to understand the importance of diversity as well. 

How to Bring About the Change

One of the major ways that have been used to increase diversity in the workplace is through financial incentives. Businesses have realized that hiring workers that have different perspectives and ideas is one of the key drivers of innovation and problem-solving.

Promoting diversity and cultural respect within businesses calls for a firm commitment from leadership. Before leaders can encourage change within their followers, they have to first embrace diversity themselves. 

Leaders need to identify and fully understand how they feel about diversity and whether they have biases towards diverse populations. That way, they can adequately comprehend what their followers are facing. This introspection will also enable the leaders to evaluate their leadership style to identify the strengths and weaknesses that can promote or discourage diversity. 

As a leader, you should:

  • Fully understand diversity and inclusion
  • Comprehend how diversity can impact daily interactions and the making of decisions within organizations. 
  • Promote effective and inclusive communication in a diverse environment
  • Understand how promoting biases can hinder innovation, productivity, and engagement
  • Study diversity and cultural competencies and how they relate to talent management
  • Leverage the power of differences to improve collaboration and overall team performance

Leaders should be the major driving force behind diversity in the workplace. Once they fully understand the benefits that come with being inclusive, it will be easier for everyone else to follow in their footsteps. 

Once everyone is on board, and they are pushing towards the same goals, the organization can start to benefit from the advantages of a diverse culture.

*Originally published on Dr. Marlon Atherton’s site

Dr. Marlon Atherton is a driven, motivated, and transformational leader who has an earnest passion to see people of God restored to the kingdom. He also served honorably in the United States Army as an Enlisted Soldier, Warrant Officer and an Officer. As a decorated combat veteran, Dr. Atherton uses his background to complement his leadership strategy. Dr. Atherton’s loves spending time and travelling with his family.