Leadership Goals Redefined: Why You Shouldn’t Try to Make Everyone the Same at Work

Tapping into differences among employees’ talents leads to success, new Harvard book says.

Leadership goals have long included assembling a diverse workforce. Companies aim to hire talent from each gender, culture, race, and religion. Now, however,  there’s a new kind of diversity to target, and it has nothing to do with any physical or religious attributes.

Leadership Goals Redefined

The new diversity.

If you look around our office, do you see lots of diversity?  Is there a nice male-female ratio, a good representation of age levels, religions, cultures, and skin color?  Yes?  Then kudos to your CEO.  But he may not be doing enough.

Surprisingly, progressive leaders are learning that the most important kind of diversity when it comes to business success is something entirely different than anything listed above.

It’s actually about differences, say two  Harvard authors who just published Why Should Anyone Work Here?: What it Takes to Create an Authentic Organization by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones.  Placing a high value on the ways in which people are different leads to more creativity and innovation, as well as a fully engaged workforce that regularly shows high levels of productivity.

Letting people have a voice, express disagreement, and show what they care about makes all the difference in the world: those are the core concepts defining an authentic organization.  Encourage those things, and productivity should soar.

Differences matter: let people be themselves.

Executives interviewed in this book seek employees whose diverse perspectives will push them (and the company) in new directions.  They value challenges to their core assumptions, in other words, and welcome input from everyone.

It’s the key ingredient for an “authentic organization”, where people can be themselves and contribute according to their own unique talents.  Rather than trying to make everyone be the same, leadership goals should include trying to bring out the differences in the way each employee approaches tasks, problems, or anything else at work.

Appreciating input from everyone takes a realignment of leadership goals…and a DiSC® Personality workshop from us!

To put this new appreciation of differences into action, leadership goals may have to change a bit.  However, down in the trenches where everyone works, it may be simpler than you think.

We know because many of our workshops are already helping groups incorporate this kind of diversity.  Many of our workshops give participants lots of practice dealing with input from each and every person on their team.  100% participation is always our goal, and we hope that translates back to the office environment.

Dealing with a diversity of styles is also the fundamental lesson in the DiSC® Personality workshops we offer.  To appreciate diversity in styles, you first have to understand them…hence the DiSC® Personality assessment and workshop that goes with it.

Remember: self-expression and appreciation for a diversity of experiences and outlooks can turn individuals into highly engaged team players.  If you value promoting from within, it’s those types of employees who might one day be pondering leadership goals themselves…future leaders, that is!