27 Nov 2019, 07:00 — 5 min read
Managing diversity in the workplace is a skill that all managers need but some lack.
Diversity is when a group or organization is comprised of individuals who possess unique traits that make them different from one another. A diverse organization doesn’t just recognize differences, it embraces them. These varying traits can be visible, such as age, ethnicity or gender, but they can also be more subtle differences such as education, religion, political beliefs, skills, background and more.
Also read: 5 effective ways to lead your team
When diversity in the workplace is managed well, the organization attracts top talent and improves customer experience and employee satisfaction. Furthermore, a study done by the Harvard Business Review shows that diverse teams are faster at problem-solving and are more likely to innovate and grow as a result. In fact, data shows that companies that are able to manage more diverse workforces are likely to outperform their competitors by 29%.
Foster and manage diversity in your own workplace through these tips:
Everyone has their own distinct way of looking at the world. Learning about your employees’ viewpoints will help you and your managers become more aware of their own biases. Self-awareness will help managers be more sensitive and respectful of employees’ differences and enables them to make the most of their teammates’ unique skill sets, experiences, and knowledge. After all, their way of seeing things might provide answers to questions that no one has solved yet.
Clear communication of a team’s goal is one method of improving employee effectiveness.
Managers need to look at their teams as not only individuals but also collaborative entities.
A diverse team means employees will have different skill sets and growth areas. If you expect all your teammates to excel in one aspect, then you won’t be able to properly guide them to their full potential.
At the same time, you need to clearly define what the team and the organization’s goals are. Clear communication of a team’s goal is one method of improving employee effectiveness.
According to an article by Forbes, a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership does not effectively meet the needs of a diverse team. Some of your team members might need a more hands-on and authoritative approach, others might feel stifled and be more productive when left to find their own ways. Adapting to the varied needs of a diverse team is the only way to make sure each employee is productive and efficient.
Good communication is a must for a high-performing team of diverse members. One of the strengths of a diverse team is having multiple points of view, allowing for a variety of ideas, expertise, and insights. Innovative solutions will push your organization past its competitors.
Emphasize open communication to save time that could be wasted on misunderstandings. Discussions produce new insights and even reconcile two differing viewpoints through compromises.
Remember that no matter how well you do, conflict is bound to happen especially when people have greatly differing views. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing as conflicts can be vehicles for positive change. Through creative conflict management, managers can transform conflicts into growth and a competitive edge for their organization.
Investing in training programs will prepare your managers to lead diverse teams that can adapt and produce results for equally varied situations.
TeamAsia Training provides leadership training in The Philippines and addresses corporate training needs through our expert speakers’ workshops. Our Diversity@Work and Handling Difficult People workshop will show managers and organizational leaders how to foster diversity and inclusion in their organization, address issues and reap the benefits.
Learn more about our workshops and produce managers that can lead diverse teams today.
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By Sanjay Mehta