I’ve been having more and more conversations about diversity lately.Many of the people I speak to jump to the conclusion that I’m somehow discussing employment practices.Not true…selection is such a small part of diversity.I have had somewhat of an epiphany on the topic recently (thanks in large part to Joe Gerstandt.) As I look around my world, my coworkers, friends, family members, and neighbors, I’ve realized that each of us is different.Here’s where Joe comes in…diversity is difference.
Damn, that’s good.Simple and good.
That Means You…and Me
Diversity isn’t only about people, but that is where it starts.Policies and behaviors and corporate cultures don’t happen without people.So I’m going to focus my energy in two very specific places at first:1. Me.2. Those people around me.
Quint Studer says that when he has an issue with anyone he first looks in the mirror to understand his role in the situation.I think his approach can work in many settings, including how we view diversity.If we don’t appreciate our own impact in every encounter with other people, then we are going to miss countless opportunities to embrace difference and make ourselves, and our organizations stronger.
You Are Already Making A Difference
When you walk down the hall and greet an employee you’ve never met before, you are making an impact.When you greet a customer with a smile and a handshake you are making an impression.When you intentionally reach out to someone who is struggling you are demonstrating what you are all about.You are already embracing diversity through your leadership style.It’s time to recognize it for what it is, and make it grow.
How About You
Have you ever felt intimidated by the term diversity?When it’s brought up in meetings is it a buzz kill?Or, is it an opportunity for you to clarify that diversity is simply difference, which means every person in that meeting is already a part of the diversity effort underway in your organization.Sounds a lot less threatening that way, doesn’t it?
Jay Kuhns is a human resources executive, leadership coach, speaker, consultant and is the author of Unstoppable Power, Leverage Energy, Risk and Relationships and Advance Your Leadership Career. He is a “Type A” leader who understands that human resources leadership is about high energy, creativity, strong personal connections and making changes that push organizations forward.