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The following is taken from DDI’s Better Leader Handbook which you can get for free by participating in their Global Leadership Forecast Survey which will take you just a few minutes to complete! It will also help me in doing research for my new book on leadership and vulnerability!

Due to shifting workplace demographics and an interdependent global economy, you’ll most likely lead and collaborate with people from diverse cultures, styles, and backgrounds. How can you leverage those differences to engage all team members and achieve top results?

Create an environment in which you and your team seek and value a wide range of talents, experiences, and perspectives. Advocating for diversity goes beyond being more inclusive; it means trying to understand the world from all possible angles so you can be informed and innovative. Nurturing diversity makes the best use of people’s talents, leading to superior ideas, decisions, and productivity.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Do others see me as an advocate for diversity? Why or why not?
  • What have I done to learn more about people from different cultures and backgrounds?
  • What actions have I taken to ensure that policies and practices leverage the capabilities of individuals with diverse cultures, styles, abilities, and backgrounds
  • When others demonstrate racist, sexist, or inappropriate behavior related to another person’s differences, how do I respond?

Key Actions: Building Blocks for Success

Key Actions are behaviors that work together to help you demonstrate this competency effectively.

Seek understanding

Gather information to learn about people from other cultures and backgrounds.

Use diversity as an advantage

Seek and use ideas and insights from diverse sources and individuals; align team members’ unique talents with the most relevant responsibilities.

Convey respect

Use language and behavior that enhance the dignity of people from diverse backgrounds; examine your biases to avoid stereotypical responses.

Champion diversity

Take action to increase diversity (e.g., by recruiting and developing people with varied backgrounds); confront racist, sexist, or inappropriate behavior; challenge exclusionary practices.

When you’re creating an inclusive environment effectively, you’ll notice:

Team members respect others’ differences. People view differences as assets and are comfortable partnering across different functions, cultures, and teams. Team members have a strong sense of belonging, and new people easily assimilate into the team’s culture. Despite their differences, everyone feels part of a group with a shared purpose. A climate of open communication and trust exists. People feel free to express their differences and enjoy discussing them.

Championing diversity is improving your effectiveness as a leader. You don’t need to plan diversity or affirmative action initiatives because your everyday leadership decisions and actions promote inclusion. You leverage the unique talents of your team members. You recruit and develop people with diverse backgrounds and offer opportunities based on objective data, not subjective opinions.

Optimizing diversity is an integral part of your team’s way of working. Team members evaluate information with an open mind rather than defaulting to assumptions and stereotypes. Your team considers how decisions will affect all parties and includes representatives of diverse groups in the decision-making process. As a result, team members gain fresh perspectives, uncover new information, and make more accurate decisions. The team proposes many unexpected yet sound ideas thinking “outside the box.” You facilitate respectful, constructive disagreements and engage differing perspectives as your team makes decisions.

If you want to get the full 16 chapter e-book which covers everything from emotional intelligence to coaching to delegation and empowerment and a whole lot more, then all you need to do is participate in the Global Leadership Forecast Survey. It’s the most comprehensive annual leadership study in the world and the insights will be used for my upcoming book on leadership and vulnerability.