The actions of leaders impact not just the work culture but also the composition of their team. Selecting and hiring may give leaders a high level of control over the workplace make-up, but it’s skills and behaviours impact employee retention. Do you find yourself surrounded by clones? Or do you attract a diverse team? Developing certain skills could determine the answer.
The composition of our society is marked by increasing diversity. The same can be said of our workplaces. More than ever, the skills of today’s leaders must match the needs of modern organisations.
In addition, saying all the words can never outweigh a leader’s actions. If the focus of an organisation rests on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, the actions of their leaders matter.
So, what skills will help managers respond to the needs of today’s workforce? Here are some leadership skills that help promote workplace diversity:
Skills that support open communication
Promoting diversity is all about breaking down barriers. Communication can be both an enabler (when done well) and a barrier (when done poorly) of an inclusive culture. For those taking the lead, skills such as active listening, handling difficult conversations and developing skills in speaking to culturally diverse groups is vital. Displaying mastery of these skills will assist in breaking down communication barriers and encourage open conversations.
Skills that foster understanding
In order for diversity to flourish in your workplace, there is a need to empower teams to work together effectively. As a leader, your skills in facilitating teamwork makes that possible. You must also be aware of the need to develop skills in coaching so as to support where needed. If team members feel they may be disadvantaged in a certain way, good coaching skills will help fill that gap and grow their confidence in participating fully as a team member.
To create a work environment that fosters diversity and attracts workers from different backgrounds and beliefs, improving soft skills and continuous leadership development is the key ingredient.