Diversity in an organization can be valuable and impactful in a positive way by hiring talented and diverse employees comparable to the company’s customer base. “The access and legitimacy paradigm focus on the acceptance and celebration of differences to ensure that the diversity within the company matches the diversity found among primary stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, and local communities. This is similar to the business growth advantage of diversity discussed earlier in the chapter. The basic idea behind this approach is to create a demographically diverse workforce that attracts a broader customer base.” (MGMT Page 268).
Diversity offers companies new ideas and perspectives of the different cultures in the workplace. The key skills and knowledge needed when managing a diverse workforce includes a positive influential leader who can engage their groups to become more efficient and who listens to their employee’s feedback. Managing diversity takes a leader to have “openness to experience the degree to which someone is curious, broad-minded, and open to new ideas, things, and experiences; is spontaneous; and has a high tolerance for ambiguity.” (MGMT Page 267). There are three components that the workforce incorporates in leadership capabilities when dealing with diversity. These are generational differences, gender, and personality.
Currently, the workplace is experiencing a mixture of four generations, Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Managers should avoid stereotyping within the generation groups, identify the different generations gaps, and provide diversity training in the work place. “Organizations use diversity training and several common diversity practices to manage diversity. There are two basic types of diversity training programs, skills-based and awareness.
Skills-based diversity training teaches employees the practical skills they need for managing a diverse workforce, skills such as flexibility and adaptability, negotiation, problem solving, and conflict resolution. By contrast, awareness training is designed to raise employees’ awareness of diversity issues and to challenge underlying assumptions or stereotypes we may have about others.” (MGMT 271). Organizations should provide career paths in line with the requirements needed for each job description for there to be clear understanding for the employee on how they can reach those roles.
Also, this enables their employees to see opportunities for advancement. Managers can set objectives and expectations to help their employees with career development. Another way is having the employees in different age gaps shadow and job rotate to gain insight and exposure to different types of jobs. Mangers can also have cross-generational team building events. Team building events help the employees to engage and learn about each other outside the workplace.
Gender equality in the workplace is a major issue today due to unconscious bias. According to the Shriver Report, women earn seventy-seven cents to every man’s dollar. The report says, “closing the wage gap would cut the poverty rate for working women in half.” “Diversity also helps companies grow through higher quality problem solving. Though diverse groups initially have more difficulty working together than homogeneous groups, diverse groups eventually establish a rapport and do a better job of identifying problems and generating alternative solutions, the two most important steps in problem solving” (MGMT 258).
Personality is defined as “the relatively stable set of behaviors, attitudes, and emotions displayed over time that makes people different from each other” (MGMT Page 265). Mangers of people in organizations can better learn the attributes of their employees by having tools to help them gauge their own personality traits. This helps build a strong emotional intelligence which supports managing the different types of personalities of their teams and resolve conflicts. One tool is The Big Five Factors, which are:
- Emotional Stability;
- Intellect or Openness to Experience.
Another tool is the Myers Briggs Assessment. I personally took the assessment and learned I am 53% Extravert, 6% Intuitive, 12% Feeling, 16% Judging. The description was spot on my personality. It said that, “ENFJs often find themselves in occupations that require good interpersonal skills to establish productive collaboration as well as to establish or maintain effective work process.” (humanmetrics.com). I work in a team that is the key to the success of maintaining the growth and strategy of the organization. I use my interpersonal skills daily to establish my network of key players to get my job done. I must collaborate daily. The role I am in is not for a shy person. I am extroverted and outgoing. I feel the role I am in suits me, but I would like to pursue other endeavors that suits ENFJ’s like Sales.
Diversity is an imperative focus of an organization. Organizations should provide their leadership with the tools and training needed to develop non-biased leadership skills. The managers need to develop leadership skills to have the social and emotional intelligence to put differences aside and resolve conflicts and have a high performing organization.