A leadership position will require you to lead diverse people. The word diverse means “a point of difference.” Each person is different primarily because we each have been uniquely created. You are one of a kind. Beyond that major point come people with a variety of ethnicities, races, religions, life styles, cultural differences, backgrounds and life experiences.
Diverse people are in every gathering place: the work place, church, community events, or in the grocery store. Whether it’s a small group (2-25 people) or larger group (25+) the diversity of each individual will shine through. To effectively lead people requires the ability to lead diverse groups and teams. Leading diverse people will require:
Raising your awareness
Look around and become aware of the differences of your people. Awareness will allow you to see the differences in each of your people.
Take time to study and learn about different cultures, religions, and customs. Especially those you are leading. One of the best ways to learn about diversity is to get outside of your comfort zone and experience what your city and the world has to offer. While taking a culture class in college one of the things the instructor did was have the entire class eat at a traditional Indian restaurant. This allowed us to experience the food, music, dancing of this group of people and to learn about some of the culture of India.
You can raise your diversity knowledge by eating at a traditional style restaurant, traveling around the world, going to a culture specific store, museum or market in your city, or attending a church service that is outside of your religions denomination. Most major cities have a wide range of places you can experience which will allow you to learn about the differences of people.
Connecting with each person
Take time to meet individually with your people so that you can connect and learn about them. John Maxwell said, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” A component to them knowing you care comes when you take the time to learn, value, and appreciate someone’s diversity. Learn about their culture, customs, and life experiences. Focus on the areas of common interest. This will show the person you care and value them.
Question: What do you do to lead diverse people?