By Kyle Scott
Last time, I presented the first in a three-point plan that can help management in ANY sector to better handle diversity and manage ethnic tension in the workplace. The following are the remaining two points.
People Matter: This is related to the issue of size I presented last time, but it is still important to remember that people matter, and they matter for at least two reasons. (1) People must be involved in decision-making procedures. (2) There are natural leaders and natural followers within any group.
On the first point: people have a natural desire to communicate and have input. To close them off will only lead to animosity and perhaps lead them to look for some person or group to blame or take their frustration out on while not knowing why they feel alienated. Moreover, if you do not include the people in the decision-making process you may never learn what the true problem is or what solutions might be available. More input, when funneled through constructive channels, is always good.
Second, you must know which people are likely to lead and which are likely to follow if you want to know if the leaders are leading in a positive direction. In this respect size and people come together as an organization.
Leaders Matter: Aside from natural leaders, there are those within organizations who are placed in official positions of power and authority that must be able to handle the difficult situations associated with diversity. Leaders must be able to work within the system to address problems and be sensitive to the needs of the people within the organization.
Promoting from within an organization that is designed to identify the natural leaders will not only recognize those leaders but will cultivate the necessary values in those leaders so that when they take an official leadership role their efforts will be genuine.
Every organization is different and every workplace is different, therefore the strategies employed to address the unique problems that arise within diverse populations need to be dynamic and adaptable. A static set of rules will always fail as it will not be able to address the dynamic nature of people and their needs.