It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. –Audre Lorde
When you hear the word “diversity”, what comes to mind? Per the Bing dictionary, it can mean a “variety of something such as opinion, color, or style”, it can be “ethnic variety, as well as socioeconomic and gender variety, in a group, society, or institution”, and it can be “a discrepancy, or a difference from what is normal or expected”.
And we’d like to add:
Appreciating and Leveraging Workplace Diversity In The Workplace Has Benefits
Knowledge, acceptance, and awareness are factors for becoming more diverse. How accepting are you of differences? Would you consider yourself and your organization to be diverse? Do you appreciate differences, and do you leverage those differences to increase effectiveness?
Before you answer, think about what comes to mind when topics related to workplace diversity and differences surface. Do you think about race, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation and disabilities?
Do you also think about accents, education, physical size, spiritual orientation, and political preferences?
Differences are limitless. What’s key is our awareness, respect, and appreciation for how these differences strengthen our team, our organization, and our world.
We all have biases and filters. What we suggest is taking the time to examine our biases and recognize the impacts differences have on attitudes and actions with the ultimate goal to appreciate and utilize what’s different.
Studies show that diversity enhances learning; we grow our mindset when we listen, process, and understand differences (and maybe learn that our way isn’t the only way!)
Have you observed a variety of leadership skills, traits and behaviors within your organization? Do you relate equally to all styles? Do you find all of them effective? Chances are “no”.
Be cognizant of how these differing styles make you feel, and give thought as to why. Appreciating and valuing differences lends itself to having a stronger team and organization.
Do you appreciate and learn from diversity and differences?
The person who is truly best suited to us is not the person who shares our tastes, but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently and wisely.– Alain de Botton