"We define diversity in an organizational setting in terms of a collective of individuals, who differ from each other on one or any number of dimensions including culture,
values, education, gender, marital status and age. Diversity deals with visible and invisible characteristics."
Valuing diversity means acknowledging that other people, other races, other voices,
and other cultures have as much integrity and as much claim
on the world as you do. It is the recognition that there are other ways of seeing the world,
solving problems, and working together.
ASME PPC on-line
The world is a global village. The US is in a unique position of having many different ethnic groups on its soil. Hence, the workplace may sometimes reflect this diversity. Diversity is important for the workplace as it improves productivity if managed well. However, when organizations bring people with different backgrounds together, there is a tendency to be conflict if they do not make their workers aware of the importance of tolerance and diversity to the organization.
Workers in a workplace should understand that successful organizations bring different people from different backgrounds together for a common cause, to serve people and to improve the bottom line of the organization. If this concept is missing, the ensuing conflicts can cause stress, which in turn will cause poor performance, tardiness, conflicts and decrease in the workplace productivity.
Stress is common in the workplace as I see many patients who complain of stress at work, from a mean boss or unfriendly coworkers. Add diversity issues to it and you have a dysfunctional workforce on your hand.
As a worker, what do you do? These are few suggestions that may help you avoid workplace stressful diversity issues:
- Have an open mind when dealing with people who are different from you. Get to know them, for they may teach you something about their world that will make you a better person. You become richer in the process.
- Remember that the new hire is scared and anxious. You should treat him as you would like others to treat you in a similar situation. This way, you may decrease his anxiety. The feeling of acceptance would bring out the best in your newfound friend.
- Be patient with your new coworkers. They may make mistakes initially. It is ok. That is how we all learn. It is the person who is working that will make mistakes. Correct him gently. He will be forever grateful to you for your understanding and kindness.
- Always walk in the shoes of your friend and see how it feels. You will realize that we are all the same people. We come in different colors, shapes, ages and languages. However, we all aspire for the same shelter, security and crave love and recognition in our second home that we call "work place."
Regard your neighbor's gain as your gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.
Tai Shang Kan Yin P'ien
All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.