How to Value Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Sections of This Topic Include
Diversity and Inclusion Can Have a Huge Positive Affect
But What Are Diversity and Inclusion?
How Well Is Your Organization Appreciating Diversity and
Basic Guidelines to Culturally-Specific Interactions
How to Learn Basics About Another Person’s Values and Culture
How to Talk About Management and Leadership in Diverse Environments
Related Library Topics
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© Copyright Carter McNamara,
In today’s highly diverse organizations, the ability to work with people having
diverse values and cultures is extremely important. An organization’s culture
is driven by the values throughout that organization. Employees need to feel
included — that their values are being recognized, understood and respected.
They need to feel that their ideas and concerns are being heard. Those conditions
create strong motivation and momentum for strong satisfaction and performance
in their jobs.
It can be a major challenge to work with people and cultures where others have
values, beliefs and certain conventions that are distinctly different from yours.
Differences can lead to increased resistance to leadership and change because
others might not understand and trust you.
For example, Western cultures tend to be highly rational and value things that
are very useful in meeting a current need. They value rugged individualism and
competition. Some cultures might value patience, a sense of community and getting
along with others, and still others might value direct authority and privacy.
Some cultures may be overly deferential to the leader. Some cultures are deeply
guarded about private matters.
You and your employees might not even realize that you all have very different
values. There are no universal laws to ensure conformity in each culture. Because
of complexities in continually learning the cultures of your organization, it
is critical for you to continually be open to differences and ask for help from
Although working in highly diverse and multicultural organizations comes with
its own unique challenges, it comes with many benefits, as well. There are few
other such powerful experiences in which you can learn so much about people
and organizations and also about yourself. The following guidelines are intended
to focus on the most practical suggestions for appreciating diversity in life
and work and also for supporting others and yourself to feel included.
Here are some articles that add to the above points:
Be Effective, Diversity & Inclusion Must Look Beyond the Business Case
The Value of Diversity in the Workplace
the Importance of Diversity and Inclusion at Work Unit
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter
And Inclusion Matters To The Workforce Of The Future
Diversity: No Longer Just Black and White
But What Are Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
Both have become prominent topics in today’s organizations. But what do both
terms mean? Ferris State University suggests these definitions:
“Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited
to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social
class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national
origin, and political beliefs.
Inclusion is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and
dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive university promotes and sustains
a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs,
backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.”
It might help to consider a variety of different definitions.
Diversity And Inclusion:
A Beginner’s Guide For HR Professionals
the Meanings of Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations.pdf
Diversity and Inclusion Defined
What is Diversity & Inclusion?
The Difference Between Diversity And Inclusion And Why It Is Important To Your Success
Millennials Have A Different Definition Of Diversity And Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion Dictionary.pdf
Most people probably feel that they are very appreciative of diversity and
always help others to feel included. Here are a variety of assessments that
you might take about yourself and your organization to get a more accurate perspective.
The following guidelines might be useful, especially if you are new to the
1. Be aware of your personal biases, style, preferences, lens and focus.
This is critically important for successful leadership in any type of culture.
You make a major difference in your organization, whether you know it or not,
just by exposing it to your own nature and style of working. Thus, you need
to understand your nature.
2. Realize that each part of an organization probably has a unique culture.
For example, the secretarial staff might interact with each other in a manner
quite different from that of the marketing staff. In larger organizations, there
are often several differences, for example, between senior management and support
3. Promptly convey to employees that you want to be sensitive to their
You should start in your first interaction with them. State that you recognize
that different people might work differently depending on their own personalities
and the culture of the overall organization. Ask them how you can understand
the nature of their organization.
4. Consider getting a mentor, or representative, from the organization.
Attempt to get someone from the organization to help you understand their culture
and how to work in a manner compatible with the culture of the organization.
This request is not a sign of weakness or lack of expertise; rather it is an
authentic request that better serves you and your employees.
Consider asking others to help you understand how each of the following aspects
might be unique in the culture of the organization. Key cultural aspects that
might affect your leadership include:
- Assertiveness Are members of your organization comfortable
being honest and direct with each other? If not, how can you still be as authentic
as possible and help them to be as authentic as possible, as well?
- Body language Are there any specific cues that you can
notice to help you to sense how others are experiencing you?
- Communication styles and direction Is communication fairly
direct and specific or more indirect and general? Does information flow mostly
“upward” to executives or is it widely disseminated?
- Conflict Is conflict considered bad and avoided? Or is
conflict accepted as normal and directly addressed when it appears? Eye
contact Are members of the organization comfortable with sustained
eye contact during communication or not?
- Gestures Are there any specific gestures that can cause
members of the organization discomfort or confusion?
- Humor Is use of humor in the organization rather widespread?
Is there anything about the use of humor about which you should be aware?
- Information collection Should you be aware of any potential
problems or use any certain precautions when conducting interviews or using
- Physical space For example, are members of your organization
quite conscious of having a minimum amount of space around them when they
work or speak with others?
- Power Are members attuned to certain people of power when
solving problems and making decisions? Is power based on authority and/or
- Silence Are members uncomfortable with silence during
communication? Or is it a common aspect of communicating in their workplace?
- Time Is time a precious commodity that seems to underlie
many activities, or can activities take as long as they need to take to be
- Wording Are there certain words or phrasings that cause
discomfort when people from different cultures interact?
It is not uncommon for people of any culture to experience confusion or engage
in protracted arguments about activities only to realize later on that they
have been in agreement all along – they had been using different definitions
for the same terms. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all of you are
“speaking the same language” about activities. The following guidelines are
most important when ensuring people continue to understand each other when talking
about management activities.
Recognize Difference Between Terms That Refer to Results Versus Activities
to Produce Those Results
It is common for people from different cultures to become confused because
different people are talking about results and others about the activities to
produce the results. For example, some people refer to the “plan” to be the
document, and others refer to the “plan” to be the activity of developing the
plan. It is usually most clear to use the term “plan” to refer to the document
itself, and use the term “planning” for the activities that produces the plan.
Here is another example. Inexperienced leaders sometimes assert that, because
employees do not have a tangible plan/document on the shelf and do not explicitly
reference the document on a regular basis, the employees are not doing planning.
That assertion can alienate the leaders from employees who believe that they
have been doing planning all along (but probably implicitly) and also have a
good plan – they just have not been calling their process “planning” and have
not produced a written plan document. Therefore, it is important for you to
recognize if your employees have their own form of a certain activity and how
that form is carried out in the organization.
Be Able to Separate a Term from the Meaning of That Term
If your conversations with others about management seem to get stuck or mired
in confusion, it often helps to separate terms from the intent of those terms.
- Rather than talking about “vision” or “goals,” talk about “what” the business
wants to accomplish overall.
- Rather than talking about “strategies,” talk about “how” to accomplish “what”
you want to accomplish overall.
- Rather than talking about “action plans,” talk about “who is going to do
what, and by when.”
Hints for Talking with Others About Leadership Activities
The topic of leadership has become so prominent and passionate with so many
people that it sometimes causes great confusion. Here are a few tips to help
people to “stay on the same page” when talking about leadership.
1. Be clear about whether you are talking about leadership roles or traits.
When people talk about leadership, they might be talking about traits of leaders,
such as being charismatic, influential and ethical. However, when others talk
about leadership, they might be talking about roles of leadership, such as the
Board Chair or the Chief Executive Officer. Both discussions are about leadership,
but both are about quite different aspects.
2. Be clear about the domain of leadership about which you are talking.
For example, when talking about leading yourself, you might be talking about
leadership skills, such as being assertive or having good time and stress management
skills. When talking about leading other individuals, you might be talking about
skills, such as coaching, delegating or mentoring. When talking about leading
groups, you might be talking about skills, such as facilitation or meeting management.
When talking about leading organizations, you might be talking about skills,
such as strategic planning or business planning. In each of these four cases,
the term “leadership” refers to different sets of skills.
Strategies to Cultivate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace
and inclusion in the workplace: How to push the agenda
Ideas for Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace That You Can Start
10 Ways Employees can Support Diversity and Inclusion | Diversity Journal
A Roundup of the Best Diversity Activities to Bring Your Team Together
2 Effective Diversity Activities for Work Departments
Six Simple Things You Can Do To Support Workplace Diversity And Inclusion
Six ways to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion: 8 best practices for changing your culture
How These Top Companies Are Getting Inclusion Right
Diversity and inclusion by design: best practices from six global companies
Corporate Diversity Programs in 2017: What’s Working & What’s Not
Ideas to Enhance Diversity
to Start a Diversity & Inclusion Committee or Special Interest Group at
the Chapter Level.pdf
A Step-by-Step Guide to Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion Part 1: 50+ Ideas
How to Best Implement Diversity Strategies in the Workplace
Workshops: Do’s and Don’ts
Developing, and Implementing Diversity Training: Guidelines for Practitioners
General Resources About Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
– Diversity and Inclusion Resources – Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI)
– University of Houston
Equity and Inclusion Resources | Equity and Inclusion
Practices in Diversity and Inclusion
of Links to Human Rights Organizations
For the Category of Interpersonal Skills:
To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review
some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics
includes free, online resources.
Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for
their relevance and highly practical nature.