With the markets continually expanding and globalization bypassing the traditional boundaries that have hindered a company’s growth and development, there are more and more challenges that are faced by today’s leaders. One of these areas of growing concern is the issue on diversity in organizations. The growth and expansion of countries, economies and companies has led to more diverse work teams comprised of members from not only different racial backgrounds but cultural and religious backgrounds as well. The key to being an effective leader is in being able to address these diversity issues in the workplace.
One of the most important steps by which these diversity issues can be addressed by the leader is through communication (Bennis, 2001). The leader must be able to show the members of the organization that the leader and the company have taken a strong commitment to identifying and resolving diversity issues within the organization. This first step is very important because its success will make the organization more receptive and appreciative of the actions taken by the leader (House, 2004). Encouraging discussion and talks about diversity issues is the next step.
This allows for participation from the members of the organization who may feel that their concerns are not properly addressed and also adds to the awareness regarding the issue and leading to a more positive working environment that contributes to higher productivity (House, 2004). The steps that are included in this part may also include encouraging the employees to participate in employee network groups, encourage employee participation in employee network groups and the leader getting to know a diverse group of employees (Bennis, 2001).
While these steps will show the leader’s commitment to resolving diversity issues, other methods such as establishing an on-going feedback mechanism or making a high level appointment of a qualified woman, person of color, or person with a disability will definitely establish the firm commitment that a leader has taken towards resolving whatever diversity issues the organization may face (House, 2004).
References: Bennis, W. , Spreitzer, G. and Cummings, T. (2001) The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders Jossey-Bass Publishing Company House, R. J. (2004) Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks