The Importance of Understanding: How the Elements of Communication, Diversity and Leadership Can Unite to Form the Molecule of a Successful Company

The importance of communication, diversity and leadership can only be truly appreciated when all three are utilized together. Using science in this next example will help illustrate this point. The molecule H2O is created by the elements Oxygen and 2 Hydrogen’s that bond together to form the life- sustaining resource water.  Water makes it possible for most of the living organisms on earth to survive. Without it most of the world’s ecosystem would not endure and most of the species, including humans would become extinct. In order to form water the 2 Hydrogen’s and Oxygen must come together just so. Any change in either element and there would not be water. However, because we are talking about science the elements almost always form together perfectly. This cannot always be said when it comes to interactions involving people.

What does the discussion of water have to do with the importance of communication, diversity and leadership? Just like the elements Hydrogen and Oxygen come together to create water which keeps almost every species on earth alive; communication, diversity and leadership must come together and be present so that a company/ organization can survive and thrive. Without these three core elements the company, sooner or later, will stagnate and most likely cease to exist.

Just as described in Leading Out Loud by Terry Pearce “[l]eaders see what is needed and inspire others to take action to effect change” (p. 4).  When it comes to leadership the person or people in charge must give those that choose to follow direction and be able to make them feel like the changes that should be made are not so because the company says that they are needed, but because the people, including their leader, deem it important for themselves. Instead those changes will be better and serve the company positively because their input was given and appreciated.

When it comes to creating that change communication must be present and it must be widely available and honest. Every member of the team must feel like their ideas are not just being heard, but that the rest of the team is actively listening to them. Open communication creates trust within the group and creates an environment devoid of fear and resentment. If everyone feels that they are being listened to then they will not think in single terms, such as “what can I do so that I may do better than team member B” instead they will think “what can I do on my part to make my entire team successful.”

Diversity is the element that makes the communication part, to which the fruits of the open communication, pay off. Not only in diversity of culture or race, but in diversity of thought. Using the openness and trust within their communication to one another, or to the group as a whole, the participants feel free to pull from their personal experiences, which form their differing point of views, and share openly. These different opinions and/ or ideas allow the company to change, evolve and adapt, which in turn ensures the company’s survival. To maintain it survival the company must sustain a use of communication, diversity and leadership or risk extinction. The way H2O forms together to create water communication, diversity and leadership must come together cohesively to form a successful organization/ company.

Coming from an individual who is not only a woman, but a Latina woman, add the fact that I am someone who happens to suffer a physical challenge that the whole world can see there is not much that I could say that I did not know, experience, or have at least an idea about when it comes to diversity, inclusion and leadership. However, I can say that I am able to expand on my knowledge based new information/ ideas I now have. The important thing I can take away is that diversity itself, if not handled properly, can create conflict when it comes to how different people see and express inclusion as well as expression of leadership. Different cultures/ races may define inclusion within a group on a wide spectrum. One group may see inclusion as being able to do anything within the group, even if it is not utilizing their strengths or asking for their opinions. Others may define inclusion as being able to be used according to their strengths as well as being able to freely express their ideas with the group.

In order to handle this effectively leadership, having to do with how each culture / race sees it should be discussed at length at the formation of the group. This process could sufficiently diminish any miscommunication that may occur, which could lead to someone unintentionally feeling excluded and creating tension within the group. Diversity can also be problematic because you may have members of a group or its leader(s) who are un-accepting of the others who may be diverse; which leads to them feeling excluded. As a person who is diverse in more ways than one being excluded is not fun.

Evaluating my    knowledge of diversity, inclusion and leadership as an individual learner is that it can be harder to accomplish things that must be done quickly if you are just one person. As an individual you can be missing out on the ideas of others that would probably make a project better or an experience more rewarding.

As a member of a team I have learned to speak up for myself if I feel that my ideas are not being heard or taken seriously. I have also learned to not be afraid to speak up for others if I feel that they are feeling/ being excluded. Asking a person what tasks in the group they would feel comfortable doing and what their strengths are is another thing I have learned over the years. Doing so makes that person feel included and more willing to share their ideas which ultimately leads to the group’s success. Deciding whether or not to leave the team is another thing I have learned. Depending on how far in we are in the process and weighing the risks of leaving versus staying help me make my choice. If we are far along in the process, the risk I would take for defecting would be high, and the group, even with all its dysfunction could get a decent grade I could choose to stay. If it were the opposite I could choose to leave, but nothing is ever set in stone and it depends on the particular group dynamic.

As an executive in the process of developing a strong, effective team I would examine all the elements that it would take to build such a team. These elements are diversity, inclusion, communication and leadership. When it comes to the diversity aspect I would follow the example of Zappos, the online shoe store. I would conduct two sets of interviews. One to check the qualifications of the individual and another to determine if they are open minded and willing to work with others of diverse backgrounds. Also being aware of asking them what is it in their personality that would make them a really good attribute to the group.

When came to communication I would encourage openness and honesty using trust as a factor. Hopefully if the group sees that I am willing to share my ideas and be honest with them they would be soon to follow. I would let the group know that belittling anyone’s ideas or dismissing it outright would not be tolerated. The ideas of every group member should be openly vetted and weighed, and if necessary, modified before a decision has been reached to accept all, some or none of the idea. And let the person know that their idea was greatly appreciated.

When it comes to inclusion my previous comments on communication would also fit this element. If the person and their ideas are being accepted within the group then there is a low risk of feeling/ being excluded. All these factors lead to being a great leader because if the group feels wanted and that their participation makes a difference that they will want you to lead them.

When it comes to inspiring others it is really hard to say with certainty what I would do. I would like to believe, as I have stated here before, that I would be willing to speak up for others if need be. I would be willing to speak my mind even if everyone else thought different. I am always willing to listen to all sides of an argument and admit when I am incorrect. I am a person who can take a position very passionately and truly believe it. I am willing to support others and give advice when asked.

Honestly I have never thought of myself as someone who inspired others although I believe I would love to be considered as a role model who can inspire others. I see myself as the female version of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, except that I am not at all religious. He is willing to hold strongly on to what he believes despite what others may say and he is willing to speak his mind (all the while being polite of course) and just tries the best person he can and trying to be a role model to others. If speaking my mind irrespective of what others may do is significant enough to inspire others to act or change then I guess I did something good.