Flexibility in Diversity

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The modern workplace in most cases is a smorgasbord of people types, and this diversity has pros and cons, but in the end can make for a more rounded, stronger team of workers if you have the right people. In order for it to work the best, the people working in an area filled with such diversity have to be willing to be flexible and open to new ideas. If you have such a group, you can go far. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and it can become frustrating.


For instance, if you work for a boss who is very close-minded and stuck in their mode of doing things and are unwilling to even consider other suggestions or options, then it can make your job more irritating. Some people who have been doing a job for years resent having a younger or less experienced person come in and make suggestions on how the job could be done.  Yes, in many cases, with age and experience comes wisdom, and for someone who has been working at something a long time, they have probably tried many options and ironed out a preferred way of doing things. However, no one is ever above learning something new, and everyone involved needs to be open to discussing other options and giving a reason as to why a method of operation can or cannot be changed.


As a web designer, the field of study is ever changing and growing. I have been doing it now for sixteen years, but I would never even think I know it all (because I do not), or that some other newbie to the field could have something to teach me. Being open to new ideas from others, regardless of their experience, background, etc. is never an issue for me, and that is a great way to be in almost any field of work.


If, as a supervisor, you have a certain way of doing things, and you feel you have explored other options and find your way to be most efficient, that is great. However, when someone approaches you with a new suggestion, you need to not get aggravated or offended, but instead, sit and listen to the idea. If it is something you have already pursued, then explain to them your past experience, and why you feel their idea is not the best option. Listening and instructing in the “why” things are not done a certain way is much better for the team than just shooting the idea down or ignoring it. Great leaders gain the respect of their team by listening and interacting and training them; passing on the wisdom and skills they have gained. Having a “my way or the highway” attitude does nothing for team morale, respect or motivation.


In addition, in not listening to suggestions at all, you may be actually missing some new cutting edge idea that you have never considered before. That is where diversity can be a benefit. Gleaning new ideas from people with different experiences and different backgrounds can make a team a much stronger if each person can put aside their pride and be open to what others may have to suggest.


There is nothing like the frustration a worker feels when they feel they are being ignored or under appreciated. If a team is filled with a bunch of individuals, with their own individual ideas, closed to the opinions and suggestions of others, then the cohesiveness of the team is in jeopardy, as is the potential for real success. Every one of the team members needs to check their pride at the door and be open to the ideas and suggestions of others on the team. It does not mean that you have to throw out your ideas or ways of doing things, but their needs to be open discussion and explanation as to why things are the way they are.

What about you?  Do you check your pride at the door and have an open dialogue with your team members? 


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