The Issues of Diversity in Team-Based Decision-Making
Last modified: October 26, 2015
An offshoot of globalization has been the increase in the diversity of employees. Sensitivity to diversity issues is one of the requirements for managers who wish to build loyal and well-organized teams
to carry out the work more efficiently. But building and training a diverse workforce is not easy in the present scenario with a plethora of diversities in ethnicity, sex, religion, race, color, national origins, in mental abilities, physical attributes, sexual orientations and lifestyles. Unless all employees are valued for their differences and are allowed to contribute to the decision-making process and enjoy the benefits based on their contribution, the team will not work properly. There will be dissensions and antipathy among the members and there would be a lack of consensus in the decisions made.
Training for diversity teams should not be carried out merely as a camouflage for positive action programs or to solely satisfy the goals and quotas of the program. In the same way, simply teaching proper behaviors and responses to cultural differences, or training to sensitize employees to the differences in others without understanding personal beliefs and values and accepting and valuing the differences in others or trying to represent the citizen base in their differences will not be enough.
Similarly, other issues such as deeming everyone as belonging to a minority group, misconceptions that laws and policies are sufficient for preventing hate crimes, the inadequacy of just being politically correct to handle ethical values and common civility or listing out politically correct observations that cannot satisfy all possibilities or profiting by diversity and classifying people rather than regarding them as individuals, have to be dealt with carefully.
Points that the manager or team-leader of a diverse workforce should note: each person is an individual and different from others in the team; when personal values are attacked there is a lot of ill-feeling and conflict; a proper attitude is invaluable in recognizing the actual diversity problems; the three primary values of care, trust and communication/understanding would go a long way in answering diversity issues; and lastly, developing one’s own emotional intelligence would help to improve one’s diverse workforce team-training skills and become a more effective team-trainer.
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