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July - 2012 - issue > Management
DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT An often neglected but crucial competency for Indian managers and leaders
Shobhit Goyal
Founder-SEEDS Education
Monday, July 2, 2012
SEEDS - School of Excellence, entrepreneurship and Development Studies is committed to developing people with the skills and competencies required to excel. They provide learning solutions that enable organization to improve their productivity and bottom line results. Their uniqueness is not only their Learning Management System which facilitates an enriching interaction between you, your fellow students and your expert Gurus; but also its curriculum which is perhaps the most practical curriculum developed post extensive research and feedback by senior industry professionals of some of the fortune 500 companies.

Diversity refers to the differences between individuals. From internal dimensions like gender, age, race, ethnicity, values to external dimensions like religion, income, appearance, educational background, marital status, personal and recreational habits to organizational dimensions like work location, seniority, union affiliation, management status, department and functional level; diversity goes beyond the visible differences. We find these differences in every workplace, though not all differences are always recognized or seen as relevant.

Differences between people influence how they behave, feel, do and are perceived and has a direct impact on the way they work. Taking them into account helps organizations to make optimal use of all capacities and capabilities in their people, affecting the quality and amount of work that gets done. Ensuring that diversity is made visible and fruitful remains a central concern of diversity management. In doing so, individual and structural representation of perception and appreciation may be reflected upon.

The underlying principle of diversity management has to do with acceptance and managing. While individuals retain their own sense of values and ethics, diversity management encourages people to recognize that not everyone is alike. Rather than being intimidated or prejudiced by those differences, employees are encouraged to accept the fact that there are diverse interests, diverse values, and diverse physical and emotional characteristics present within the office environment.

In today's new workplace, diversity management is a time-sensitive business imperative. It can no longer just be about making the numbers, but rather how an organization treats its people authentically down to the roots of its business model. Every good manager should be able to assess his/her diversity awareness, recognize stereotypes, and understand the ingredients of diversity. Building a diversity management culture and Leadership style is essential to embrace and manage workplace diversity.

At School of Excellence, Entrepreneurship and Development Studies (SEEDS), Diversity Management is a competency based topic facilitating managers to develop an environment that works for all employees. It encourages them to enable, empower and influence employees to reach their full potential and ensure that organizational systems, policies and practices do not benefit one group more than another.

The idea of inclusiveness is central to Diversity Management and it addresses workplace behaviors and understanding differences while focusing on an organization's culture and climate. Managing diversity in the workplace enables organizations to better serve their customers and clients in a country that symbolizes unity in diversity; this competency takes prime importance for smooth and optimum functioning of an organization. If managed properly, diversity is a boon for the corporate world as it brings people from different talent pools under the same roof. When left unattended it can hamper productivity and create conflict but can otherwise be strategically leveraged to strengthen the department and meet collective goals and objectives.

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