The Self-Awareness Guy

workplace diversity

The Definition of Diversity

The Definition of Diversity


Leaders frequently ask me what is the definition of diversity and I let them know that it's simply welcoming and celebrating the wisdom, talents, life experiences, and perspectives of the people in their organizations. Here are a few concepts to help illustrate what diversity is:

  • It's a variety of people with different life experiences coming together to create a positive workplace.
  • Diversity welcomes and celebrates various outlooks and worldviews.
  • It's a philosophy that honors and encourages differences.
  • Diversity is about inviting everyone to the table and valuing their input.
  • It increases our choices and access to opportunities.
  • It's a reflection of who we are deep inside and how we relate to others.
  • Diversity means we understand we're all in the same boat
  • It's not feeling threatened by people who are different.
  • Diversity proposes that we all share this planet and have a duty to help one another.

Diversity at its core is about welcoming and honoring all people and realizing that we're all valuable and worth treating with kindness and respect.

Cheers,

Guy


10 Examples of Workplace Diversity

10 Examples of Workplace Diversity


There are many examples of workplace diversity that leaders and employees overlook but that can benefit everyone in their organization, including individual's:

  • Life experience.
  • Thinking style.
  • Socio-economic situation.
  • Work ethic.
  • Worldview.
  • Cultural background.
  • Education.
  • Physical appearance.
  • Communication style.
  • Skills.

Each of these items offers leaders and fellow employees the opportunity to learn more about another person and to use their unique perspective to improve the workplace. The trap we fall in is that we try to stuff people in a predetermined box rather than learning about who they really are and using their talents to build stronger, more diverse workplaces.

Cheers,

Guy

15 Examples of Diversity

15 Examples of Diversity

There are many examples of diversity in the workplace that many leaders and employees don't always realize are all around them, including people's:

  1. Skill level.
  2. Life experience.
  3. Socio-economic background.
  4. Education.
  5. Tenure.
  6. Worldview.
  7. Age.
  8. Cultural background.
  9. Language.
  10. Physical appearance.
  11. Communication style.
  12. Perception of reality.
  13. Career goals.
  14. Introversion or extroversion.
  15. Motivation.

There are countless things that people don't have in common, yet we manage to look past them and come together to get things done. I've always found that companies are more successful when they learn that people's differences aren't a bad thing, they actually provide a wider range of tools to build a stronger workplace. What would you add to this list?

Cheers,

Guy

The Importance of Diversity

The Importance of Diversity

The importance of diversity is that it helps you build a better workplace because you get to draw from a wider variety of talents and perspectives in order to strengthen your organization. A lot of leaders get all bent out of shape about diversity when all they really need to focus on is how they can use their employees' unique skills and life experiences to benefit everyone. Self-aware leaders understand that diversity is a valuable tool that provides many benefits including:

  • People understand and appreciate each other.
  • People are more respectful toward one another.
  • A sense of community and collaboration.
  • A more cohesive team.
  • Reduced conflict.
  • Better communication.
  • No cliques.
  • A wider range of ideas and skills to use in the workplace.
  • Access to more brains.
  • People getting along instead of fighting.
  • Letting go of fear and mistrust.

Most workplaces choose to impose some kind of arbitrary culture that heavily favors the dominant group in their workplace. What they end up with is predictable: A workplace where one group runs the show and is afraid of anything that is different. I prefer an approach that values the diversity of people in any workplace and invites them all to the table to help build the organization.

Cheers,

Guy

A Different Approach to Diversity Training

A Different Approach to Diversity Training

There is a lot of training centered on labeling other people’s personalities and then using those categories to communicate better, read people, work together or build relationships. Sometimes these approaches take the form of being a color or giving your personality a name. These approaches fall under the broad category of personality typology and all focus on pointing out people’s particular attributes. Personality typology aims at helping us understand our differences and how we can use that knowledge to relate more effectively.

While it is valuable for people to understand that others have different communication styles, physical appearance, backgrounds, perspectives or approaches, I think this methodology only addresses a part of what true communication or relationship building is all about. Personality typology can be a great conversation starter but it benefits from adding a couple of components.

I prefer to focus on the things we have in common. I’ve noticed that people have little problem identifying the things that are different about other people but have a harder time finding what they share with others. It helps to start by not forgetting that we all have things we have in common. Personality typology tends to focus on differences: you’re this and I’m that. This is great for pointing out differences but less effective for bringing people together because it focuses on the things that keep us apart. I’ve found that a far more productive approach for helping people connect is to emphasize the things they share and build on those.

Another key element that leads to friction is labeling people. Labeling tends to put people into supposedly neat categories that don’t really reflect who they are at a deeper level. So we’ve gone through our training and now we can all walk around and point at each other as being this or that. That’s great but it doesn’t get to the crux of understanding another human being. Labeling can be effective to point out obvious differences but a deeper understanding of what really makes people tick can give you far greater insight.

So what can companies and individuals do to really bring their people together and help them get along wonderfully? It takes a change of focus and perspective that moves away from fixating on differences. Think about the following ideas and how they might help your employees (or you) create stronger connections.

  1. Focus on the things people have in common.
  2. Practice active listening to learn about others.
  3. Spend time learning about others by listening.
  4. Forget labels and find out what people really love doing.
  5. Build empathy by creating conversation groups.
  6. Ask open-ended questions to learn about others.
  7. See the world through someone else’s eyes.
  8. Don’t react to differences; take it as an opportunity to learn.
  9. Practice collaborative problem solving skills.
  10. Celebrate people regularly.

As you’ve noticed, this approach is about highlighting and celebrating the great things about other people. The trap many of us fall into is believing that the world is about all these people who are really different from us and who we must be wary of. Yet the vast majority of people in the world want the same things we do. They want to live happy lives with a great career, family and friends. If we shift to thinking in those terms we actually make our lives easier by not having to remember who shakes hands how or what will offend which person. By emphasizing the things that bond us we create an atmosphere where the differences don’t matter as much.

Ask yourself how effectively you practice the ten key skills we’ve talked about. Successful people and companies understand the value of stepping outside themselves and learning about their people. Getting along with others is not so much about the things the keep us apart, it’s about the things that bring us together.

Cheers,
Guy