Many businesses today are investing in diversity training programs. Why? – Diversity and inclusion offer firms a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Not only does diversity enhance financial performance and productivity, but it also creates rewarding work environments. It’s not enough to simply sprinkle the organization with a -diversity training here and there, however. Successful businesses of tomorrow must cultivate diverse environments to sustain inclusive cultures and innovative ideas. This is why investing in diversity leadership training is essential.
Why Diverse Leadership is Important
In any market, the challenge is to perpetuate growth and to maintain a competitive advantage. If a market is highly competitive, this can be difficult.
In such environments, businesses must promote creative innovation so that their goods can be differentiated from others in the market. This is where diversity leadership comes into play.
If future leaders embrace an inclusive approach, then diversity fosters innovation and creativity to drive this growth. This is why diversity leadership is critical for future success. Diversity training may be effective for a time, but diversity leadership is the gift that keeps on giving.
What Exactly Is Diversity Leadership?
Different models provide different views of leadership. For example, transformational leaders help organizations adapt to change. Servant leadership provides role modeling and guidance for others.
Diversity leadership, however, can be a component of a leadership model or a stand-alone concept. In essence, diversity leadership pertains to individuals who excel in promoting inclusive cultures in the workplace.
As a result, several key features are typically associated with diverse leadership.
- Curiosity – Growth is an essential ingredient of business success. Future leaders who embrace curiosity invite diverse opinions into workplace discussions. This drives creativity and innovation. This is a natural feature of diversity leadership.
- Cultural Intelligence – Inviting diverse opinions and participating in diversity training seminars is not enough for diversity leadership development. Inclusive leaders must have a strong knowledge of various cultures as well. A high cultural IQ promotes constructive conflict resolution and idea generation. These are hallmarks of diversity leadership as well.
- Collaboration Skills – Inclusive leaders also appreciate the importance of collaboration and teamwork. The exchange of diverse ideas is essential for growth and innovation, and diversity leadership promotes these types of opportunities.
- Commitment to Diversity – Strong future leaders appreciate the importance of diversity to the business’s success. As a result, a dedication in advancing diversity in the organization through influential leadership is persistent.
- Courage – Diversity leadership also requires a level of courage to promote an inclusive environment. Diversity involves presenting ideas at risk for rejection. Risk-taking is a requirement. Future leaders who will succeed in developing diversity and inclusion will see failures as opportunities to learn and grow. This inherently takes courage.
- Cognizance – Lastly, diversity leadership is aware of existing biases that may exist that hinder inclusive environments. Such biases may exist in the organization or within the leadership. Cognizance thus requires self-reflection and constant assessments to ensure an inclusive culture is being advanced without barriers.
Effective Strategies to Develop Diversity Leadership
Developing diversity leadership takes more than simply scheduling diversity training sessions. It requires methodical, consistent efforts to mold future leaders of tomorrow into those who value inclusive organizations. The following strategies can help in this regard.
- Access to Current Leadership – Leadership development requires access to current leaders. Having role models to guide future leaders in diversity practices and inclusive behaviors is essential.
- Challenge with Support – Organizations sustain diversity leadership behaviors when individuals challenge their work with new tasks to promote inclusion. This may involve opportunities to resolve diversity conflicts in effective Alternatively, it may require guiding others in diversity training. Regardless, coaching and mentoring supports are often beneficial with such efforts.
- Cultural Education – In addition to diversity training efforts, future leaders also need to develop cultural competence and cultural knowledge. This will aid in leadership tasks, communication skills, and other abilities in promoting inclusive environments.
- Collaboration Activities – Inclusive leaders must have strong interpersonal skills and work well in diverse groups. Immersing future leaders in team settings where inclusion is required for success breeds strong diversity leadership. Likewise, encouraging individuals to take on team project leadership can further advance these skills.
- Advocacy Opportunities – Because inclusive cultures may not naturally occur, future leaders should also learn to advocate for diversity in the firm. Therefore, encouraging individuals to support and advocate for inclusion helps sustain diversity in the organization.
Diversity Leadership – The Means to Sustain Market Success
The goal of – any business is to sustain a competitive advantage and ongoing market growth. Investing in the development of future leaders is an important strategy to achieve this mission. Because diversity is linked to enhanced performance, it stands to reason that businesses should invest in diversity leadership as well. In doing so, businesses will have great opportunities to become market leaders and sustain longstanding success.
John R. Miles
EVP & Associate Publisher
John R. Miles is Executive Vice President of Business Development and Associate Publisher of Bold Business. He is a sought-after motivational speaker and writer. He brings visionary leadership style and talent as a Navy Veteran and an internationally experienced CEO, COO, and Fortune 50 CIO across a multitude of industries. Miles is also an operating partner at the Virgo Investment Group where he is responsible for identifying and pursuing new investments while supporting existing portfolio companies with operational expertise. He is active on Linkedin and Twitter and published in a variety of media. Miles graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy where he was a varsity athlete.