The push for diversity and inclusion is lacking a crucial piece of the puzzle. And I’m not talking about belonging. Yes, belonging is important. Just as equity and inclusion are important. However, to truly have a diverse workforce you also need a diversity of personalities because they bring different perspectives, priorities, and work styles together which can spark conversation and innovation. This is what it looks like when embracing differences is part of the DNA of a team or organization. And employees and the organization alike reap the benefits to the tune of 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee.
Profit increase is just one of the amazing byproducts when our differences are celebrated. But the reality is that we often mistrust or disregard people who show up differently than we do. It’s a form of unconscious bias that most humans fall prey to, and when it happens, we are triggered into negative reactions. For example, have you ever worked with someone who came across as too harsh or abrupt? They always managed to pull in the results, but they hurt people’s feelings with their insensitivity. Or maybe you’ve worked with someone who was slow to respond or speak up and so they were disrespected and treated like a doormat.
It’s possible that you may have experienced a workmate who was forgetful and came across as “flighty”, causing you and your coworkers to disregard their other abilities. It’s even likely that you’ve worked with someone who never showed emotion and preferred to work in their own silo even though, ultimately, it was detrimental to the team’s success. These are just some examples of natural personality tendencies that often rub people the wrong way and over time cause problems within a team or department.
Soft Skills Are Lacking
When teammates don’t know how to work collaboratively because their differences get in the way, it can result in prejudice, distrust, and even marginalization. It seems like we should be farther along than we are in addressing this issue, but organizations continue to put people together on teams based on their hard skills. And then they expect them to come together cohesively despite the different priorities, motivators, strengths, and struggles of each individual team member. More often than not, the result is a group of people who struggle to see eye to eye. They can’t relate to each other, and they don’t have the necessary soft skills to fix the problem.
A proactive manager, on the other hand, would want to provide personality development for the team so that employees are empowered with the knowledge of why they show up at work the way they do and why their teammates show up as they do. A manager would also ensure that the training would provide strategies for communicating more effectively with the different personality types. And most importantly, this type of training would allow employees the opportunity to practice communication skills before they actually have to use them.
Personality Development Matters
The ability to communicate effectively even in conflict is one of the soft skills most desired by today’s employers. So, if today’s employees want access to more professional development and organizations want employees to have more of the power skills like communication and collaboration, then personality development is a must. This type of development benefits teams as they work together but it also imparts skills that individuals will continue to use throughout their careers. In fact, research from Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center found that 85% of career success comes from having well-developed soft skills and people skills.
To conclude, kudos to every manager who is working to make diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging the norm in their place of work. Being a woman and having a Mexican family lineage makes that personal to me. But I also believe that a crucial aspect of this fight for diversity is recognizing that personality plays an important part in how we show up at work. To manage effectively you must understand your own personality as well as the others on your team. It’s the way to ensure that employees feel included, heard, appreciated, and valued. At Brilliant People™ we believe it’s the cornerstone of a culture that embraces DEI&B wholeheartedly.
If you’d like to bring personality development to your team, get in touch with us today!
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