Diversity in today’s workplace includes not only ethnic, religious and gender differences, but generational ones as well. Many CPA firms and corporations today have as many as four generations working within their organization. How companies manage such diversity within their teams will dictate their ability to endure over time.
Managers striving to lead should consider what they are doing to embrace and encourage diversity. They play an important role in successfully leading diverse organizations by:
- Communicating. Spend time with your team members getting to know each of them and their individual goals. Truly understanding who they are will help you better manage them. Educate them on the company’s strategy and plans for the future. Show them how their work contributes to the overall goals.
- Being open to people who think differently. Strong leaders are able to create an environment where thoughts and ideas are welcome. Create a psychologically safe environment where individuals have the courage to speak up with their thoughts and ideas and are motivated to contribute to your company’s success.
- Fostering collaboration. Build relationships through team building; it will lead to increased awareness. Strong teams of diverse individuals have more creativity in thought and problem-solving skills. Present the opportunity to explore and appreciate varying perspectives.
It is important not to fall into the trap of stereotyping people or allowing those stereotypes to cloud your perception of individuals. While people may appear to share similar backgrounds, each of your team members will have his or her own goals and values. Showing them that you are interested in each person as an individual will help strengthen their commitment to the company.
Value diversity as it exists in all aspects of your workforce, and the unique experiences that every one of your employees brings to the table. Having an inclusive environment can open the door for increased recruitment, retention and long-term growth.