Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
Cultural diversity is often perceived as simply being nice to people from different cultures. While it is critical to treat people with respect, such an overly simplified attitude demeans the contribution of foreign nationals and expats within our communities. It also demonstrates a lack of understanding of the sophistication of skills and global knowledge that those who do not share our cultural background can offer.
Going global requires leadership and management within an organization to reflect on established communication styles and processes. The capacity to communicate effectively with people who have varying cultural styles of relationship and trust building requires everyone to open up to new perspectives and adopt different ways of working together.
Research and experience tells us that diverse teams can be more productive, more creative and more innovative than monocultural teams. However, such benefits are only possible if teams can tap into the diversity dividend. This means ensuring all team members are able to fully participate, engage and share perspectives, opinions and maintain a sense of their authentic self at work.
The capacity for leaders of diverse teams to create an inclusive and participatory high-performance culture is critical. Key skills include: structuring meetings in a way that all participants feel confident and capable of contributing, creating a shared sense of vision and direction, enabling feedback on what’s working and what’s not, and ensuring delivery and performance is not negotiable.
Global businesses must realise that effective diversity management is effective business management – and a strategic investment in future productivity outcomes. Diversity can be a leading catalyst for a positive economic future, and a significant contributor to enabling a creative, innovative and growing economy.
It’s time for leaders to raise their game. Cultural diversity management goes beyond simply being nice to each other. It is about harnessing cultural diversity for productivity and effectiveness in today’s globally interdependent economy. It requires adopting a shared sense of vision to unite, rather than divide. It means building engagement and a greater understanding of the unique contributions and insights that those of other cultures can make.
At Global Training Specialists, we ensure that individuals and businesses have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to succeed in an increasingly global and multicultural environment. Our Intercultural Competence Training results in an ability to understand and manage your own and others’ cultural world views to be more successful. For managers and leaders, this is key to leveraging cultural diversity for positive innovation and growth. Contact us for tailored solutions to meet your needs.