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Diversity Impact on Leadership, Essay Example

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Essay

America is often called the land of immigrants and diversity at workplaces has historically been the norm rather than the exception. In addition, globalization has further increased mobility of labor and the degree of diversity has only been increasing across America. Diversity doesn’t only change workers’ composition but also affect the organizational work practices as well as the company’s leadership.

First of all, diversity forces leaders to create an organizational culture that accommodates diverse cultural representations and promotes respect for individual differences. Effective leaders do not see diversity as merely compliance with legal regulations but as an opportunity to encourage creativity and diversity of ideas. Another impact of diversity on leaders is that it forces them to create more open communication environment in order to avoid misunderstanding. People from different cultures often have different norms and values, thus, misunderstandings are not uncommon. Only open communication will minimize the instances of misunderstanding. The leaders can also use open communication to help improve working relationship among workers from diverse background and encourage them to engage in productive collaborations (Lindenberger).

Diversity also influences leaders to promote nondiscriminatory work environment in which everyone has equal access to promotions and leadership opportunities (Kokemuller). There are several benefits to organization for creating an environment which promotes fairness. First of all, it motivates all employees to do their best because rewards depend upon performance and not one’s ethnic or cultural background. It also helps the organization attract top talent from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Similarly, it improves overall employees’ morale and helps lower employee turnover rate.

Diversity also helps leaders create innovative companies as the case of IBM shows. IBM has been successful for over a century now and operates in 172 countries, with about 427,000 employees (Llopis, 2011). The benefit of treating diversity not as an obligation or affirmative action but as an asset is that it promotes creativity within the organization as employees contribute wide range of ideas and bring different perspectives to the table. Globalization has eased trade barriers and more and more companies are setting international operations. Diverse workforce can especially be valuable to companies setting international operations because they may be able to provide local knowledge and perspectives.

Diversity also forces organizations to choose leaders whose leadership style accommodates diversity better. A research study found that members of heterogeneous teams prefer leaders who are considerate and perform better when led by considerate leaders (Homan & Greer, 2012). The benefit to organizations of considerate leaders is that they are more likely to engage with their followers as well as entertain opinions and feedback. This helps motivate employees and increase their loyalty to the leader and the organization. In addition, it also promotes open communication.

It is clear that diversity just doesn’t affect the workplace but also the organization’s leadership. If managed carefully, diversity has several benefits such as more innovative and productive workforce, more engaged employees, improved relationship between the leaders and the followers, and company’s ability to attract top talent. Organizations should not treat diversity as merely affirmative action but as an asset and take advantage of the strengths diverse workforce brings to the table.

References

Homan, A. C., & Greer, L. L. (2012, January 10). Considering diversity: The positive effects of considerate leadership in diverse teams. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://gpi.sagepub.com/content/16/1/105.abstract

Kokemuller, N. (n.d.). What Is Diversity and How Does It Impact Work? Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/diversity-impact-work-15985.html

Lindenberger, J. (n.d.). Diversity And The Workplace. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://www.experience.com/alumnus/article channel_id=diversity&source_page=additional_articles&article_id=article_1134069577860

Llopis, G. (2011, June 13). Diversity Management Is the Key to Growth: Make It Authentic. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2011/06/13/diversity-management-is-the-key-to-growth-make-it-authentic/

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