The pandemic taught business leaders that diverse perspectives can help their businesses strive
Today’s interconnected world has made diversity an essential topic. Despite its association with racial diversity, the concept of diversity extends far beyond racial lines. It is essential to understand that true diversity encompasses a wide range of characteristics, including but not limited to ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, and socioeconomic background. The pandemic and work life post-pandemic has enhanced my understanding of the importance of diversity in all its facets and has transformed my leadership style.
In the wake of the pandemic, I was reminded that my organization’s greatest asset is its employees yet they were burdened with uncertainty and stress that adversely affected their morale and well-being. It became apparent to me how important empathy was to people when they felt isolated both physically and emotionally. I placed employee welfare at the top of my priority list, which led to increased attention paid to mental health support for employees, a more flexible work schedule, and a greater understanding of individual needs.
After the pandemic, as we gradually moved back to more in-person interactions, it was important to make sure that those individuals still felt that they were a priority, both for me personally and for the organization. By creating environments that recognize and respect the unique characteristics of each individual, I established a sense of belonging and empowerment.
My position as a black woman provides me with a unique insight into managing both my team and the corporate environment in which we work. One of the primary advantages of diversity is that it enables a wide range of perspectives to be brought to the table. As a team, we are composed of individuals with varying backgrounds and experiences, all of whom contribute unique perspectives that challenge assumptions and encourage creative problem-solving.
Having individuals from different backgrounds contributes to stronger social networks that are capable of coping with challenges and adjusting to changing circumstances. As a result of our organizations, diversity has created a rich tapestry of people who support and assist each other during times of crisis as well as triumph. In the intervening years since the start of the pandemic, I have learned about myself in ways that continue to shape my leadership and management practices, and that will help me become a catalyst for creating a culture of innovation and adaptability at work.