You might see value in hiring someone just like you helping you run your business; after all, great minds think alike and all that. However, successful current entrepreneurs and managers know the value of diversity in the workplace, and it is something all business owners and leaders should give serious consideration.
The Benefits of Workplace Diversity
You may think there is only one way to get the job done – your way! In reality, there are often many ways. A team member who replicates your skills and abilities is wonderful during busy periods when you need as many hands on deck as possible. You know what you are going to get from them. However, in the long term, you will find that you have deficiencies in specific areas, which have an impact on the quality of the work your team can produce.
Ideally, you need to find a balance within your team and that means finding someone who has the skills, knowledge or attitude that are missing now.
Over 58% of Australian employees want to see more diversity in the workplace – different genders, different ages, different racial backgrounds, and different personality styles. Therefore, that means finding people who are not just like you
What Kind of Person Are You?
Consider this. You may have a consultative approach to the way you run your business and that is great. However, think about it. There may be someone on your team who enjoys more of the financial aspects – who can pick up where you leave off. They can keep track of the inventory or take charge of the analysis; that way you can ensure that all parts of the business are working well. In addition, as you look to grow your team, or replace people who leave, you might want to consider adding innovative thinkers to help you find alternative ways of doing things.
Alternatively, you may be a frontier person, continuously coming up with new ideas. If this is the case, you may need someone to finish the tasks for you, someone to do the completion of ideas or projects on your behalf.
Or if you are more heavily focused on the details, then you will find that innovative team members come in handy on more than just a handful of occasions. It is all about balance.
Belbin identified nine different behaviour types that we find in the workplace and we need each one to make a balanced and complete team. We all have a role which we feel most comfortable in and a couple of others that we can operate from with relative comfort. Then there are others that we just can’t manage at all. That applies to you, too. Edward De Bono takes this thought a step further.
Edward De Bono and the Six Thinking Hats
You may have heard of De Bono and his book entitled Six Thinking Hats. It says that every person brings a different focus to his or her job. Some are starters, some finishers, others planners, detail-oriented people or big picture people. Each of these individuals will be able to bring a different way of operating that will enhance the team dramatically.
De Bono breaks the hats down like this:
- The White Hats value information above all. They want to know the facts as precisely as possible.
- Yellow Hats symbolise optimism and positivity. They look for value and benefit above other things.
- Black Hats take a more cautious approach. They tend to look at critical thinking and negatives.
- Green Hats are great for new ideas and possibilities. Lateral thinking is their specialty.
- Red Hats get the job done using their feelings and intuition. It is all in the hunch.
- Finally, the Blue Hats manage the overall thinking process. They ensure that all hats are present and accounted for.
How It Works in Practice
While each team member will have a definitive job role and responsibility to focus on, his or her individual skills may be called upon during a period of need or even for a one-off project.
Let’s assume you’re a frontier person. You’re out in front coming up with the ideas, but you’re not a finisher. Not much of what you do will actually close out properly because it’s just not your area of focus. If you’re a details person on the other hand, you may not be coming up with new ideas or any innovation as quickly as other people. It will probably be you that dots the i’s and crosses the t’s to get the work properly completed though.
The most efficient teams have a diverse blend of people and skills. It is the key to success.
We recommend trying to hire prospective staff members that will enhance areas that may be lacking. Diversity will naturally bring different approaches to problems and alternative ways of doing business in general, which will actually make you far more competitive in the marketplace. Diversity is good business sense.
What colour hat do you wear in the workplace and why do you think that is? Drop us a line in the comments below and let’s see the range of coloured hats we have amongst us.
Director, Your HR on Tap
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