Diversity and leadership: Who benefits?

Given the increasing migration of individuals across borders, it is not surprising that diversity consulting firms have mushroomed all over the world in an effort to train companies on how to better manage a diverse workforce. And yet, as Clark (2013) points out, “only 1% of the nation’s Fortune 500 CEOs are black. Only 4% are women. And not a single one is openly gay”. This goes to show that we still have a long way to go. It also begs the question, why have we not made much progress? In answering this question, I think it is important to look at who is making decisions and why those decisions are being made as well as who stands to primarily gain from the outcome(s). In other words, a truly inclusive workplace is fostered by great leadership. From my perspective, it ought to go beyond the notion of a business case for diversity. While it is not always easy, folks have to be mindful of their internalized biases which are often flawed, but unfortunately still influence leaders decisions. In addition, we can only create a better world for us all when we recognize that we all have unique gifts and talents that are valuable to the collective.

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