The Perversity of Diversity

go Diversity in the workplaceHow would you feel if I were to announce suddenly that I am a conservative Republican and a Christian? How about if I said I am a liberal Democrat and an atheist? One way or the other, some of my readers might brand me as an extremist and relegate me to the dark dominion of the Under-lords of Radical Thinking (It’s a real place! No kidding. I wasn’t allowed in without a jacket and tie, but I did get a great t-shirt at the gift shop.)

Артём купить cocaine Most people will agree that diversity makes us stronger, but too often we turn it on its head toward divisiveness. We find ourselves knee-deep in suspicion and fear that can rip an organization apart as easily as they have done with our nation. When diversity disintegrates into division, progress slows or even stops.

Within organizations, color of skin, religion, political affiliation, age, modes of dress, language and even types of handshakes often serve to keep us from building a community. We’re uncomfortable with what we don’t know.

But it’s natural for us to reject others who are different. This fear response is as old as our humanity. So there is this perversity in diversity: we know intellectually that it makes us strong, and yet we’re designed to reject it. How do we overcome these powerful instincts? We can simply choose to do so. All organizations have their own culture, but it is we who create the culture, not the culture which creates us. Therefore:

Закладки кристалы в Рузе The path forward is to focus on what we have in common, and to be intrigued by what we don’t.

One thing that we all have in common is ignorance. This ignorance is a lack of understanding of others. Another common trait is shame or pride: the fear of exposing that ignorance. And we often hide that fear by arguing emotionally.

With all of that in common, we’ve got a great place to start the discussion and change the perspective of the entire organization. When facing a diversity conflict, instead of thinking, “How strange,” one should wonder, “How interesting.

Diversity in the workplace can cause a great deal of conflict. But it is also this diversity that can drive our progress.

Here are 8 steps to consider:

  1. Create a policy about diversity. Show not only intent, but also lead by example.
  2. Communicate the policy to everyone. Insure that your entire staff participates in group discussions about the policy.
  3. Bring in an expert, or utilize a comprehensive resource.
  4. Consider how diversity might affect your hiring practices.
  5. Institute a zero-tolerance policy for hurtful jokes and comments.
  6. Create “bias awareness,” emphasizing that everyone has biases.
  7. Treat the subject seriously, but encourage humor whenever appropriate.
  8. Above all, foster relationship-building. Start with fun activities and some uncomplicated challenges that encourage lighthearted interaction.

Census bureau statistics show that in 2020, 40% of the U.S. workforce will be minorities. Don’t let the perversity of diversity stop your organization. See diversity it for what it is: your imminent, and eminent, future.

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3 Responses to The Perversity of Diversity

  1. Diversity of talents makes sense because when all the puzzle pieces come together, it makes for the big picture. Diversity of values, principles, and beliefs does not make for strength, but weakness. There is such a thing as truth. Men cannot make up their own version of truth but often try to do so. America is seeing the collision of two world views which has the potential to destroy our nation. A house divided against itself, will fall. ~Jesus of Nazareth

  2. Sheila says:

    I found this shift of thinking about diversity to be interesting. I am African American and I love who I am, and I wouldn’t want to be anybody eles. Sometimes I am aware that I don’t want to blend and admit commonalities with those who are not AA. I am afraid of loosing or melting in to the big stew pot. Just as Jewish people want people never to forget what happened to them in Germany, I don’t people to forget or to stop thinking about how slavery impacted people generationally with deep wounds that most AA haven’t come to recognize themselves. I know many of the younger generation really want to forget and melt. Sometimes I want to and sometimes I just don’t. Do you know what I mean? I like the concept you presented about being interested instead of thinking, “how strange you are”. Thank you. I hope our campany will explore these thoghts.

    • Jeffrey Tobin says:

      Sheila, thank you for or candor. You’ve identified a real conundrum; how to retain ones identity while becoming a part of a working group. I believe that a part of the answer is found in what one puts out front.

      I have a good friend who is a local surgeon. He takes great pride in his Scottish heritage; it is very important to him. If he were to wear a kilt to work every day, I’d say that he is putting an identity out in front of himself, and wants to be seen first, as a Scot. And that is what people would see; a man who chooses to not fit in. The kilt would tell many, “I am different and I do not want to be associated with you.”

      On the other hand, he could choose to present himself as “himself,” first. He is, after all, a person, not a group. That would not diminish anything about his heritage at all, but it would drop a wall that serves to exclude, rather than include, everything else that makes him who he is.

      In this way, he can present himself as an individual, a part of whom is his heritage, not the other way around. And I believe that his true identity will be found, not lost, among others.

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