Posted

on 20/09/2015 by admin

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You can’t handle the truth!

Or can you?

It’s always interesting watching children’s movies as an adult. You see the lessons, ideals and values being taught in a different light than the little ones. The other day, watching Tinkerbell (I know, I should already be worried right?), one of the fairies standing in a production line starts questioning why there is yellow and blue pixie dust but not green or pink or red. She gets weird looks by everyone else, my my, she is doing the forbidden thing, questioning things! Now fairies might not exist but the way people who are different are considered uncomfortable is too real. But is easy always good?

 

A diverse team is an awesome asset for any business.

 

We all now the politically correct thing to say is that we want diversity around us. In our neighbourhood, our schools and workplace. Companies are even being measured on they score on diversity in leadership functions and overall in their organizations.  But how many of the people who say it actually mean it? I think a lot of people have some resistance when it comes to having people who are different too close. I also think the first step to overcoming that resistance is to be open about all the aspects of diversity.

 

Often when decision makers try to get people onboard regarding diversity it’s just one huge propaganda train. They talk about the profits it is said to bring and people who are perceived as part of the diverse population are painted as perfect examples of model citizens or employees. And what they get back from the average community and worker is disbelief and even more resistance. Because what they avoid to do, because they are too scared of opening a can of worms, is to acknowledge that having people who are different close – is hard. Most of the time it is bloody difficult!

 

…but individuals can use their true colors to shield themselves….

 

It is uncomfortable; it creates tension and confrontation, with others but also with yourself making you question your own views and opinions, maybe even your own belief system and values. Conflict with others and self reflection is difficult and for sure not a joyride, let’s not forget what is at the other end of the tunnel. Yes, there is the aspect where companies are then able to reach a wider customer base, but also for each individual employee that is part of the process. Opening up to others who are different, and reflecting over your own self leads to personal growth and development. Now isn’t that something worth struggling for? Isn’t that something that you would wish for everyone in your company? To learn, grow and the best you can be? I think most people would agree with that, still many people seem to fear change and prefer status quo and the comfort it provides. Others are scared because they feel that by putting focus on another group, they themselves will be pushed aside or be seen as less valuable.

 

…or they can struggle to adapt and become a bit confused about their own assets.

 

So I believe that if you want to promote diversity in the work place, you need to be able to recognize all these fears and speak about them, be transparent. Acknowledge that there is a struggle and find constructive ways to deal with it, instead of just talking about the rewards. By doing so you can get real buy in from the organization as a whole, real engagement and people will remember, when it gets tough, that in the end they will gain from it as well.

 

But the right approach will bring your diverse company to soaring heights!

After all, nothing worth having in this world comes easy.