Managing diversity in the workplace requires understanding and relating with coworkers who are different than you. The success of an organization is becoming increasingly dependent on the ability of employees and managers to deal with differentiations along diverse identity lines.
Diversity can be categorized in a number of ways. This includes stimulating our thinking about each other’s similarities and differences. Some dimensions of diversity are unchangeable (like gender, ethnicity and physical abilities), but other dimensions may change over time (income, marital status, work experience or religious beliefs).
High Performance organizations recognize the importance of diversity to success. These organizations value contributions of diverse employees and a multicultural approach to managing diversity. This multicultural approach includes three important points:
- Avoiding the idea that we are all the same
- Identifying to the unique contributions of diverse individuals
- Striving to provide environments that challenge and support people from all cultural backgrounds
USING A FLEXIBLE APPROACH TO MANAGING DIVERSITY
Demographic changes in society impact the workforce and require new management skills and focus. Leaders looking towards the future must be prepared to meet the challenges of managing an increasingly diverse workforce. High Performance organizations value the contribution of all its members, recognizing that each employee brings many valuable skills and experiences with them each day.
Flex-management skills acknowledge the “salad bowl” approach to the diverse workplace; that each individual worker retains his or her unique makeup while becoming part of the “salad” or workplace. Flex-management requires a new mindset—a different philosophy of management.
At the heart of flex-management lies a deep appreciation of individual differences and an understanding that equality does not mean sameness.
Stay tuned for more on Diversity next week . . . and if you are interested in getting training at your corporation on diversity, just contact me