Leadership and Diversity
Go Hand in Hand
Leading in today’s world and in a global economy is not easy or simple. Today, embracing and
incorporating diversity is not optional, but imperative in surviving as a leader and
being competitive in a global market. I believe leadership and diversity must go hand in
hand if we want to succeed and be at the cutting edge of innovation and competition.
The public and private sector needs to move beyond Employee
Resource Groups (ERG’s) and celebrating minorities history months.
Leadership is about embracing everyone’s diversity and their unique
contributions. Contributions in making our country or our organizations
world class and highly productive and competitive. According to leadership
expert, John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing
else. The ability of the leader to influence others, both their followers and
those outside their circle.” If we are unable to understand and influence
our diverse workforce, we will lose our competitive advantage. We are
all unique individuals and diversity is the one true thing we all have in
common, let’s celebrate it every day.
Malcolm Forbes said, “Diversity is the art of thinking independently
together”. As we re-define leadership today, we must identify, select
and develop leaders who are authentic, confident, hopeful and resilient.
They must also have both the capacity and passion to lead in this culture
in which leadership and diversity go hand in hand.
Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment
Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach
and leadership and empowerment consultant.
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By Marisa Rivera
Many people define the term diversity as the difference in culture,
gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, language, age,
physical abilities, occupation, and class. But it is much more than that.
Diversity is everywhere. Diversity offers remarkable benefits of new ideas,
styles, vision, global competitiveness, creativity, innovation, and lifestyles.
Effective leadership and the management of diversity in the workplaces
are key to successful operations and productivity. Effective leaders have
evolved into those who can be authentic, intentional and inclusive, and who
can best oversee change in our organizations and institutions.
The old model of leadership, seeking to “control” and everyone needing
to be the same, needs to be replaced with a transformational, inclusive
and diverse leadership model in which everyone has value. Diversity and
inclusion drives growth, it increases innovation, increases employee
engagement and in return, increases performance.
The world has changed and we are more than ever interconnected
with each other. In fact, the ability to adapt to change and embrace diversity
in the workforce are two of the most important attributes in leadership
today. Failure to recognize and embrace diversity will lead to challenges
in the workplace such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and ageism, thus
creating a hostile environment.
America is a land built upon its diverse workforce and immigrants.
Today, the United States is composed of 76 percent Caucasian, 18 percent
Hispanic or Latino, 13 percent African American, 5.7 percent Asian, 1.3
percent American Indian and Alaska native, .2 percent Native Hawaiian
and the other are Pacific Islander (U.S. Census 2016). America’s diversity
remains on the rise, with all racial and ethnic minorities growing faster
than whites from 2015-2016 (U.S. Census 2016). Our country is prosperous
and a leading global force because of its diversity, values and work ethic.
40 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 24, No. 2, 2018