CIOIT Best PracticesIT GovernanceIT Health CheckIT Staff & Team Building

3 Questions to Leverage Team Diversity

From a moral standpoint, diversity should be a given in any workplace. Business leaders, however, are driven by the bottom line and the ability for the company to outperform the others. Luckily, McKinsey has found that gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform and ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform. In an article for the Enterprisers Project, Coco Brown gives some important questions to ask when trying to create more diversity in your company:

  1. Am I seeking to understand?
  2. Am I helping my team to envision the future?
  3. Am I enabling my “diversity developers”?

Diversity for the Win

When it comes to understanding, you need to build empathy and compassion with the people you work with, and you can do this by asking questions. Being genuinely curious without judgment is a mindset you should have when asking questions about your team’s different experiences. Ask about culture differences, what it was like growing up, etc. Understanding their unique perspectives will help you develop a wider overall vision of your projects.

Women and minorities in the workforce may need a different approach to help boost their confidence in the workplace. To do this, switch up the way you may approach one-on-one meetings with your employees. Start off by asking what they would like to talk about, and if that doesn’t yield anything, ask them some questions about how their work has been going recently. Simple things like future skills they’d wish to develop, what they’re excited about, and what kind of challenges they’ve had to overcome would work rather well here. If you need to give criticism, structure it in a way that “feeds forward” instead of “giving feedback.” In other words, have them voice aloud how the feedback they have received can be used to do a better job moving forward.

Coco wraps up by stating the importance of “diversity developers,” whom are people of the majority who can help workplace diversity by using their position to give opportunities to others:

To do that, make sure these employees know when positions are open, and advocate for the qualified candidates they put forth. This is something leaders who represent the majority can do more effectively than employees of under-represented groups. According to a study cited in Harvard Business Review, women and minorities are often penalized for promoting diversity at work, making it imperative that CIOs enable diversity developers by listening and acting themselves.

You can view the original article here:

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