How to Improve Diversity in Leadership

What is Diversity in Leadership?

Being inclusive of everyone, regardless of their history, experience, color, gender, or socioeconomic status, is what is meant by diversity in leadership.

A diverse leadership team fosters inclusivity, incorporates a variety of viewpoints, and is linked to improved decision-making and creativity. This guarantees that a varied range of individuals within the company and society are represented in leadership roles rather than a homogenous group.

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Why Company Leadership is Often Homogenous

The historically ingrained inequality that has been molded by social systems since enslavement is the reason for the lack of diversity in leadership, particularly the predominance of heterosexual white men.

The history of slavery perpetuates an environment of unequal competition. Even with efforts to address diversity as firms grow, its effects can still be observed in situations where generational advantages lead to a “stale, male, pale” workforce.

Significance of Diversity in Leadership

1. Fosters Innovation and Business Success

There is a strong link between more diverse leadership teams and better financial results. Teams who fully understand the complexities of their broad customer base are essential to the success of any organization.

In order to arrive at this knowledge, diversity among decision-makers is essential. If not, businesses run the danger of finding it difficult to connect with their audiences and meet client needs, which could result in unintentional advertising errors and negative publicity.

Diversity in the leadership team demonstrates the organization’s dedication to inclusivity. Using a software outsourcing company as an example, a diverse and inclusive workplace enables the business and its clients to value the differences in viewpoints, which lowers misunderstandings, promotes successful business outcomes, and eventually leads to a successful partnership between the two.

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2. Enhances Employee Engagement and Retention

One important component is representation. For people from underrepresented backgrounds to imagine moving up the corporate ladder, they must see themselves in powerful roles. These people could become discouraged by a lack of varied representation and look for chances in organizations where progress seems more possible.

In addition, when leaders of organizations are diverse, they take on an important mentorship role for a larger pool of professionals. They grow more adept at motivating, empathizing, connecting, and building meaningful connections, all of which enhance employee engagement and retention.

Studying Real Organizations Paving the Way for Diversity in Leadership

1. Slack’s Innovative Sponsorship Program: Rising Tides

Rising Tides, a six-month program for a brilliant and diverse cohort of high-performing and emerging Slack leaders, is one way that Slack demonstrates its commitment to diversity.

Participants in the program receive executive mentoring, one-on-one sponsorship with an executive team member of Slack, and training for professional advancement. The goal of this program is to foster a peer-supportive community.

2. Citi’s Transparent Career Paths and Promotions

Career development is highly valued at Citi, especially for marginalized groups. Its Global Consumer Operations program helps top performers get the knowledge and abilities they need to move into management and supervisory positions. With an astounding 80% of program participants either promoted or on a clear route to promotion, the outcomes speak for themselves.

3. Lyft’s Strategic Diversity Sourcing Approach

Gaining expertise in diversity recruitment is essential to achieving diversity in leadership. By tracking and measuring its efforts with platforms like Greenhouse, Lyft has improved its sourcing approach. To specifically reach the people they want to interact with, they actively participate in community events, source through unconventional means, and use job descriptions and target populations imaginatively.

4. EY’s Comprehensive Investment in Talent Development

In order to foster diversity in leadership, EY adopts a wide strategy, highlighting the importance of high-achieving teams that make use of a range of viewpoints and beliefs. The goal of initiatives like Discover EY and EY Launch is to provide ethnically diverse first-year, sophomore, and transfer students with a sense of empowerment. These programs not only increase public awareness of accounting and professional services as careers, but they also give participants the chance to audition for positions at EY.

5. Biden’s Cabinet: A Shift in the Status Quo

It’s important to highlight that President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to appointing “the most diverse Cabinet in history” is progressing, even though his goal is not to win over political parties. With the appointment of multiple women to important roles, the past lack of diversity is being addressed, particularly with regard to gender and ethnicity. Nonetheless, concerns about the underrepresentation of Black, Asian American, Native American, Latinx, and Pacific Islander populations continue to exist.

Although there is still opportunity for improvement, Biden’s choices indicate a break from past practices and a more accurate portrayal of America. These globally visible improvements reflect a major and long-overdue move toward diverse representation in key positions of power.


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