How often do we hear people say that they embrace diversity, and then behave another way? As Ralph Waldo Emerson was fond of saying, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say”.
My sense is this happens because most of the time embracing diversity is easy. It’s not when folks are different from us that we are challenged, it’s when folks do something different that it becomes difficult.
As leaders, it is our job to create an environment that is accepting of everyone on the team so that the common organizational goals can be met. At the same time, in these polarized times, leaders are increasingly finding team members looking for those “doing differences” rather than looking for what they share simply by virtue of being human.
The questions that come to mind for me are:
- how do we both set aside our differences, and at the same time embrace them, so that our organizations benefit from the broader thinking that diversity brings?
- how do we know when to confront behavior that seems in conflict with our stated goals, or when to leave it be, because the behavior is simply based on life differences rather true conflict?