Diversity is something that organizations should not only celebrate but it should also be a critical part of their infrastructure. Many organizations today strive to put diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the forefront of their culture and mission.
What Is Diversity and Why Is It Important?
Diversity is defined as including people that have a range of different qualities in a group. This includes areas such as:
- Education levels
- Sexual orientation
- Disability status
- Socioeconomic background
Our preferences, lifestyles, upbringings, and backgrounds shape who we are and allow us to bring a unique perspective to the table. In an organization, these different outlooks create a learning opportunity that gives us a better understanding of one another. They teach us how to communicate, see things from a fresh perspective, and open our minds to a higher level of awareness, empathy, and sensitivity.
Because of this refreshed way of thinking, we’re able to achieve more together. When it comes to decision-making, diversity can lead to constructive conflict, which opens the door to useful conversations that can help achieve better end results.
Diversity also feeds into an organization's culture. More diverse organizations benefit from higher levels of creativity, engagement, collaboration, relationships, clarity, and productivity. Organizations that embrace DEI also benefit from lower turnover rates and higher advocacy. In short, diversity can make your organization stronger and more effective.
How Diversity in Leadership Can Benefit Your Organization
From academic institutions, sports teams, the workplace, and beyond, diversity is highly beneficial to organizations and the people in them. To maximize the benefits discussed above, your leadership also needs to be diverse.
A diverse team of leaders can help you establish and build trust with many different people in your organization. Diverse leadership brings a wealth of knowledge and varying perspectives, which can help improve the way your leadership relates to those inside and outside of your organization.
What’s more, these collective perspectives enable you to be better aware of new opportunities, navigate challenges seamlessly, and make inclusive decisions. Overall, diverse leadership allows you to boost retention, attract talent, and nurture a healthy culture.
How to Be a Diversity-Focused Leader
As a current or aspiring leader, it’s likely that you’ll face challenges when it comes to creating a diverse, inclusive organizational culture. This could be due to a lack of time, resources, or know-how. Nevertheless, diversity is a critical part of your organization and it’s a worthwhile cause to pursue.
Becoming a diversity-focused leader starts with you. Take time to understand what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean, their value, and what that could look like for your organization. Always treat others with respect and fairness. Consistently let your team know that their ideas are valued.
You can also roll out DEI initiatives or improve upon your current ones. DEI tactics are a powerful way to encourage an inclusive culture. They should embrace diversity and promote an environment where all people feel safe and respected. Be sure to share these initiatives and the reasoning behind them with your team members as this is a critical part of fostering inclusivity.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Are Key Pillars of the NSLS
At The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), DEI has been fundamental to our organization since its inception. We believe there’s strength in diversity and it’s our goal to empower students of all backgrounds, lifestyles, cultures, and religions to lead with confidence. We always have and will continue to stay committed to standing against discrimination within our program and in the higher education space overall.
As a leader, it’s important to learn how to protect and promote a culture of unity in diversity. Learn more about what DEI means to us and how we foster an inclusive culture.