How to Value Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Guidelines and Free Resources

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    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
    Cultivating Inclusion?
    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

    Strategies to Cultivate Diversity and Inclusion in
    the Workplace

    General Resources About Diversity and Inclusion

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Multi-Culturalism and Diversity

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    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Can Have a Huge
    Positive Affect

    © Copyright Carter McNamara,
    MBA, PhD

    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
    your employees.

    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

    How Well Is Your Organization Appreciating Diversity
    and Cultivating Inclusion?

    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.

    and Inclusion Self-Assessment

    Diversity & Inclusion Assessment

    Cultural Assessment
    Working with
    Others (assessment on how I relate to others and how others see me)

    Basic Guidelines to Improve Diversity, Equity
    and Inclusion

    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.

    How to Learn Basics About Another Person’s
    Values and Culture

    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
      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
      done effectively?
    • Wording Are there certain words or phrasings that cause
      discomfort when people from different cultures interact?

    How to Talk About Management and Leadership
    in Diverse Environments

    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.
    For example:

    • 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

    Across Cultures

    How to Best Implement Diversity Strategies in the Workplace
    Workshops: Do’s and Don’ts

    Developing, and Implementing Diversity Training: Guidelines for Practitioners

    Teaching Tolerance

    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

    Extensive List
    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.

    Related Library Topics

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