Diversity is a big topic right now, and certainly something we can’t ignore when it comes to our professional careers or building successful teams. We asked John Slattery, from our Partner Firm INSPO, to write a blog for us on the topic. Here’s what he had to say…
Your Workplace is Better With Diversity
It’s with a little trepidation that I agreed to write this blog. Mainly because I am not an expert in diversity. I agreed to write the blog however as no expertise is required to know that the world is better with diversity. Your workplace is better with diversity.
I spoke to a fellow self-employed individual recently. They spoke of a desire to have someone working with them. To have a different perspective that they could bounce things off to come up with the best way forward. I agree with them. Inspo will be better when there is more than me. A group of diverse thinkers creating brilliant ideas. I sincerely hope that this point will indeed come soon.
For those of you who have a team of staff and/or are working in a team already, here are three ideas I’d like to offer to allow diversity to shine in your workplace:
Diversify the Voice
I cycle everywhere around Dublin. I have a habit I need to eliminate when cycling. On occasion while cycling, I sit back in the saddle to allow my back to be upright for a moment. To do this I need to take my hands off the handlebar. This is not a safe practice. Last Saturday, I did so en route to Seapoint. A boy, maybe six or seven, shouted from the footpath, ‘put your hands on the handlebar!’.
All week the boy’s words have been, positively, in my voice. In that moment, the boy was an unexpected leader and advisor to me.
There’s leaders and advisors all over your team. Irrespective of grade, seniority or hair colour.
Make sure to diversify the voice being heard in your workplace to ensure that leadership and advice shines a light in your business.
A couple of research studies stand out from my study during the Higher Diploma in Psychology I (eventually) completed. One was a study that showed Spanish and German speakers appeared to be influenced in how they described a picture of a bridge they were shown by the fact that the word bridge is masculine in Spanish and feminine in German.
A few years on, this study still highlights to me that we all think in our own unique way, based on who we are, where we have come from, the language we speak and our life experiences.
A workplace, a team, that embraces that difference within each of us is the one that will allow that uniqueness to be brought to bear in the best possible way.
One Label, Lots to Offer
You could label me as being a Corkonian. You could label me as someone from the Garden County. What’s certain is that you can label me as Irish. If you’d like, you can label me as over 35 (let’s not go into specifics though). You can, with pleasure, label me as a reasonable singer.
The most important label that you can attach to me though is John. And the most important thing you need to know about me is that I feel I have lots to offer.
Society and the workplace have created labels. Some are helpful, some less so.
Some facilitate diversity in the workplace, some less so.
To allow diversity to shine in your workplace it might be helpful to always come home to the fact that arguably the most important label for any staff member is their name. And the most important fact to come home to is that each person has lots to offer in your workplace.
If you can, create an environment that allows it to shine.