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Diversity is increasingly becoming a big issue in the present day organizations as more and more of them are opening up to embrace global challenges and are also recruiting from a diverse mix of available talent. The need to be competitive has made the organizations…
There are also positive indications that organizations that are rated highly on diversity are also rated high on other measures of organizational success. (Winston, 2001).
Once the diversity and its related issues are identified and acknowledged, the organization can move on to develop systems to co-ordinate and turn diversity into its competitive advantage. One such system, that is perhaps the most crucial one for the entire process to work, is of leadership. There are however, two fold links between leadership and diversity that must be given due consideration. The first arises (as we’ll see in the following paragraphs), due to the fact that it is extremely relevant that leaders and managers acknowledge diversity of the workforce and also, and that they are trained in their approach to direct a diverse people. The second link is due the growing need to encourage more leaders from among those who come with a diverse background.
The first issue is pertinent as many of the leadership theories postulate that the leaders’ social skills, intelligence, attitudes, and traits like decisiveness and self-confidence, play a crucial role in his ability to motivate and lead. (Stogdill,1974). Other theories, like the contingency theories, also put forward the ability of the leaders to adjust to the situation and to adapt a flexible approach – an approach that is perhaps the most required one for leading a diverse workforce.
This is especially true in the light that people working together in teams, are required to share healthy working relationships, and to complement each other’s skills. The link between diversity and leadership can be identified by the fact that a leader’s task becomes important in a diversity environment, as he is required to keep heterogeneous teams motivated to work together and to stimulate synergistic outputs.
Secondly, a point to note here is that there is a need to encourage leaders from diverse ...
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