Essay: Managing diversity of thought in the workplace

Give permission
Government agencies that aim for a diverse workforce should adopt certain practices that make employees believe that they have the permission to bring their complete self to the work place. In that case, organizations that strive for inclusion tend to appreciate their employees’ differences and foster a comfortable environment where sharing views and their authentic selves is easily possible. Employees should have the comfort of disagreeing and holding opinions that differ from those of management. One of the difficult things for managers to do is to let employees disagree with them and to allow them to explore their ideas (even if that exploration leads to failure).
In an interview, a manager of an intelligence agency described how she frequently has to write long analysis by putting together various pieces of literature into a document, which contains content of extreme strategic importance. One way for her to ensure that her team members contribute honestly and provide required insight is to give them the permission to give constructive feedback even if it is harsh. Instead of asking reviewers, if what she said makes sense she rather questions what’s wrong in her logic or where is she lacking? Such questions provoke more opposing responses that ultimately helps in gaining a better result.
Organizations should therefore need to make it a priority to equip their managers with new techniques in order to effectively manage and embrace diversity of thought.
3. Advance differently
Drive career sponsorship
When cognitively diverse individuals are hired in a work place, the managers aim to retain their talent and further work on advancing and improving it. This can be done via sponsorship programs that are directed towards individuals who represent varying thinking styles. By aligning sponsors they can aid cognitively diverse thinkers in finding the most appropriate way of applying their unique style of thinking and helping them in advancing their new career track.
A sponsor who is trained would also be well able to translate and promote the otherwise hidden attributes of individuals that are new to an organization. Military veterans who return from Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, have skills, certifications, and intellectual styles that organizations can use, as well as the ability to think promptly, manage well under pressure, and contrive. Yet their careers can be very uncertain when they are asked to adjust to a culture that differs from the military tribe they are used to. So sponsors that can facilitate these types of transitions are essential for an organization’s ability to incorporate cognitive diversity.
Individuals possessing diverse thinking styles can also act as a mentor to other people within their organizations. For instance, in today’s digital age, many Millennials are reverse mentoring their senior colleagues in social media and networks. Cisco has implemented a reverse mentorship program which is designed to comprehend where the mentor can provide the executive with a perspective on ways in which comments and decisions could be interpreted by diverse employees as well as valuable feedback on how well she/he encourages inclusion and diversity in his/her own team and also in his/her own business practices. Reverse mentorship programs teach employees that their varying ideas are prized and, in fact, need to be incorporated more often in the more senior levels of the organization. In reverse mentorship the confidence that individuals helps them achieve more in their official duties as well.
Shift to team-based evaluation
Late Peter Drucker management consultant had very rightly said that you can only manage what you can measure.
The US Office of Personnel Management provides team evaluation guidance that highlights that individual performance can be linked to the cooperative behavior of the team. By emphasizing on the team’s outputs, public sector organizations can still reach results while holding the collective accountable to virtues such as motivation, intellect, emotional intelligence, and risk tolerance. Precariously, these elements are aligned with the larger goals and values of the organization and helps in creating an environment where people bring their authentic selves. Any evaluation framework should have the capability to reflect the complexities that make up the authentic self, and the appraisal then becomes about shared performance and how each individual can enable the larger group to drive toward excellence. By moving to a team evaluation framework, organizations can create and foster a culture of inclusion that not only empowers its people, but also urges collaboration, and inspires more innovation.

Source: Essay UK -

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