The workforce of today is very different from what it once was – modern teams include employees from a variety of ages, genders, ethnic groups, cultures and backgrounds. This increasing diversity has important implications for leaders!
First and foremost, a one-size-fits-all style of leadership is unlikely to be very successful in a diverse workplace. The risk of adopting such an approach is that some employees will remain undeveloped and may even become resentful, whereas others will flourish. The modern workforce requires self-awareness and cultural competence.
Open-mindedness is also essential in a diverse workplace – a willingness to consider ideas that might at first seem unusual or non-traditional makes it possible for employees to feel heard, and also allows for innovative or novel strategies that leaders may not otherwise have considered.
The key skill of a leader of a diverse workforce is to be able to respond to the person in front of them – this means being aware of cultural norms, but also being aware that not every person will adhere to them. It is much more valuable to get to know the person in your team than to rely on stereotypes.
If this sounds like an intimidating task for a leader, don’t be distressed. AsiaAus Leaders coaches can help to guide you in the best ways to become culturally competent and to see the individuals beyond the cultures. A diverse workforce is a workforce with multiple skills, many talents, and one which is globally competitive – these benefits cannot be ignored!