Leadership

3 Lessons: Diversity Diligence

By / Apr 1, 2017 (Drake Sorey)

For Cynthia L. Simpson, CAE, the chief business development officer for the Association For Women In Science, D+I isn’t just “one and done.”

Make diversity and inclusion a priority. Great leaders understand that diversity and inclusion are vital to business operations. Human capital is often an organization’s most overlooked asset. In today’s environment, smart leaders recognize the need to develop a diverse group of managers at all levels. Developing sound mentoring and coaching programs, providing stretch goals and assignments, and offering opportunities for success and failure are important to the success of an organization.

Conduct a comprehensive review. Great leaders understand that diversity is not a one-and-done initiative. Rather, a comprehensive review of hiring and promotion procedures and engagement of top leadership conveys the importance of D+I. Start by reviewing gendered language in materials, position descriptions, and solicitations and clearly defining and prioritizing evaluation criteria. These are critical components that must be continuously addressed in creating a diverse and inclusive culture.

Know your biases. Great leaders understand their biases and work to overcome them. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes held by both women and men. Perceiving ourselves as objective, rather than being willing to see our biases, correlates with showing even more bias. Bringing our biases into conscious awareness allows us to intervene before they dictate our behaviors so we can better align our intentions and actions.

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