As a manager, be ready to proactively model acceptance of differences to create a welcoming environment.
- When I began a community dialogue training program about race, inclusion, and equity, I walked into the first meeting with a not so good attitude. I was thinking, how hard could this be? I immediately became aware of my own biases. What changed my thinking? I heard their stories. I felt their passions. I learned about their cultures. My heart smiled and new global relationships were built.
Getting ready to be a manager should mean you are willing to proactively model acceptance of differences to create a welcoming environment. Hopefully, you have participated in diversity and inclusion training prior to working with your new team. If you are currently facing some challenges with a diverse group, investing time in such training can be invaluable. Begin by taking a self-assessment of your diversity awareness.
Whether you have managed one team or several, each team is unique. Each team member is different and your initial obligation to be receptive to everyone is important for them to see. Ask yourself a few questions, such as: Am I comfortable taking on this diversity management role and discussing challenging issues? Do I understand how culture influences attitude and behaviors in the workplace? Am I aware of stereotypes that I hold about other groups? Will I recognize negative behaviors exhibited in the team, and willing to confront them? Will I see people positively and recognize them for their contributions? Throughout the team engagement, be mindful of the elements of team building: storming, norming, and performing.
These should be intuitively monitored as you observe team members while sharpening effective communication methods that embrace diversity and inclusion with your team. In a recent study on working conditions in the United States published by the Rand Corporation, one in five workers say they face a hostile, disturbing, or threatening social environment. Faced with certain unfavorable conditions in the workplace, managers of diverse teams must be alert as much as possible, watching for any signs of stress in team members.
No one should expect the manager to be fully prepared or knowledgeable. However, armed with good intentions, great communication skills, general command of team dynamics, a manager can be effective in leading the team to achieve optimal outcomes.
- Implementing an open-door policy
- Building rapport with your team
- Recognizing normal behavior of team members
- Working with multigenerational teams
- Identifying negative behaviors that could derail progress
- Dealing with inappropriate behavior
- Using coaching tools to monitor results
- Reflecting on societal and political influences