In an ideal world, diversity is celebrated and workers set their ideologies aside on the job. In the real world, that rarely happens. It’s up to you as the manager to maintain a peaceful and productive workflow. However, can your employees trust you to be able to do that if they know their values are drastically different than your own? Here’s how you can avoid troubling situations and maintain trust with your employees.
Address any problems before they even begin. You, as a leader, are responsible for demonstrating the proper way to maintain working relationships. This is especially true when you’re working with people of opposing principles. Review business goals with employees, and remind them that you are a team striving for the same result: to make the business money.
Don’t forget that your position of authority makes you responsible for what occurs in the workplace. If you haven’t done it already, set up a diversity training with your HR department. Make sure all new employees go through the training, and come back to it at least once a year. While few people enjoy using company time for trainings, spending the time and resources to address these issues right at the beginning and then periodically afterward could keep you from having to hire an attorney further down the road.
Find ways to incorporate your diversity training in everyday tasks, so it stays fresh in the minds of your employees. Unfortunately, many people still need to be told that many types of discrimination isn’t legal, thanks to laws protecting certain classes. By finding ways to remind your employees consistently to respect everyone, regardless of their values or beliefs, you can make them more aware of diversity issues, which will be far more effective than relying solely on the training.
Regardless of individual ideologies, demonstrate fair practices amongst all your employees. Only reward workers on their merit and actual performance. If someone expresses concerns about experiencing discrimination or witnessing favoritism, take it seriously. You might have the knee-jerk reaction to deny it, but consider if there’s any truth to the complaint, then deal with it accordingly.
Many people have never learned how to disagree with others respectfully. Brush up your own skills, and be sure to demonstrate them should it become necessary. Try these tips:
Workplace relationships can be tricky when everyone is looking up to you. It’s especially difficult to keep a level head when your ideologies are challenged. Display responsibility in disagreements and other communication, and use the above tips to encourage a fair, accepting, and productive team.