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Understanding and managing people who are similar to us are challenges.

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Understanding and managing people who are similar to us are challenges—but understanding and managing people who are dissimilar from us and from each other can be even tougher.95 The diversity issues a manager might face are many. They may include issues such as communicating with employees whose familiarity with the language may be limited; creating career development programs that fit the skills, needs, and values of a particular group; helping a diverse team cope with a conflict over goals or work assignments; or learning which rewards are valued by different groups. Steps in Pract...

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Understanding and managing people who are similar to us are challenges—but understanding and managing people who are dissimilar from us and from each other can be even tougher.95 The diversity issues a manager might face are many. They may include issues such as communicating with employees whose familiarity with the language may be limited; creating career development programs that fit the skills, needs, and values of a particular group; helping a diverse team cope with a conflict over goals or work assignments; or learning which rewards are valued by different groups. Steps in Practicing the Skill 1. Fully accept diversity. Successfully valuing diversity starts with each individual accepting the principle of diversity. Accept the value of diversity for its own sake—not simply because it’s the right thing to do. And it’s important that you reflect your acceptance in all you say and do. 2. Recruit broadly. When you have job openings, work to get a diverse applicant pool. Although referrals from current employees can be a good source of applicants, that source tends to produce candidates similar to the present workforce. 3. Select fairly. Make sure the selection process doesn’t discriminate. One suggestion is to use job-specific tests rather than general aptitude or knowledge tests. Such tests measure specific skills, not subjective characteristics. 4. Provide orientation and training for diverse employees. Making the transition from outsider to insider can be particularly difficult for a diverse employee. Provide support either through a group or through a mentoring arrangement. 5. Sensitize nondiverse employees. Not only do you personally need to accept and value diversity, as a manager you need to encourage all your employees to do so. Many organizations do this through diversity training programs. In addition, employees can also be part of ongoing discussion groups whose members meet monthly to discuss stereotypes and ways of improving diversity relationships. The most important thing a manager can do is show by his or her actions that diversity is valued. 6. Strive to be flexible. Part of valuing diversity is recognizing that different groups have different needs and values. Be flexible in accommodating employee requests. 7. Seek to motivate individually. Motivating employees is an important skill for any manager; motivating a diverse workforce has its own special challenges. Managers must strive to be in tune with the background, cultures, and values of employees. 8. Reinforce employee differences. Encourage individuals to embrace and value diverse views. Create traditions and ceremonies that promote diversity. Celebrate diversity by accentuating its positive aspects. However, also be prepared to deal with the challenges of diversity such as mistrust, miscommunication, lack of cohesiveness, attitudinal differences, and stress. Practicing the Skill Read through the following scenario. Write down some notes about how you would handle the situation described. Be sure to refer to the eight behaviors described for valuing diversity. Scenario Read through the descriptions of the following employees who work for the same organization. After reading each description, write a short paragraph describing what you think the goals and priorities of each employee might be. With what types of employee issues might the manager of each employee have to deal? How could these managers show that they value the diversity represented by each? Lester. Lester is 57 years old, a college graduate, and a vice president of the firm. His two children are married, and he is a grandparent of three beautiful grandchildren. He lives in a condo with his wife who does volunteer work and is active in their church. Lester is healthy and likes to stay active, both physically and mentally. Sanjyot. Sanjyot is a 30-year-old clerical worker who came to the United States from Indonesia 10 years ago. She completed high school after moving to the United States and has begun to attend evening classes at a local community college. Sanjyot is a single parent with two children under the age of 8. Although her health is excellent, one of her children suffers from a severe learning disability. Yuri. Yuri is a recent immigrant from one of the former Soviet republics. He is 42 and his English communication skills are quite limited. He has an engineering degree from his country but since he’s not licensed to practice in the United States, he works as a parts clerk. He is unmarried and has no children but feels obligated to send much of his paycheck to relatives back in his home country.

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Since L is a vice president of a company and has led a successful life, he is not so difficult to manage. He can easily understand the importance of diversity at workplace. He belongs to the American race and has been brought up in an open and forward environment.

 

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