In Leading in a Diverse Environment, Teddie E. Malangwasira, PhD, discusses the steps leaders must take to create effective growth in an organization that also values diversity, makes everyone feel included, and seeks to develop the unique skills of employees. individuals. Dr. Malangwasira draws on her personal experiences as a leader and as someone who has worked in various settings to make his points and provide examples of effective leadership. As an immigrant to the United States from Malawi, he has witnessed firsthand what happens when organizations fail to celebrate diversity, and has developed the belief that diversity is more than just hiring people from different racial or cultural backgrounds. No two people are the same, so even if you have an organization made up of people who seem to come from the same cultural background, they will still have diverse skills and talents; therefore, he must find ways to use those skills to the benefit of the organization, rather than just hiring people to do jobs that don’t always match their skills. This broad view of diversity makes the book relevant to any organization no matter who its team members are.
Leading in a Diverse Environment begins with a foreword by Dr. Blanche Wallace, Director of Dynamic Strategic Leadership Coaching and author of The Competent Coaching Leader. Wallace highlights the many values of Dr. Malangwasira’s book, including that it advocates developing the skill of self-awareness. Dr. Wallace states, “A leader who is not self-aware is operating from an uninformed position. To connect effectively with one’s environment requires awareness, authenticity, and greed. These characteristics cannot be faked.”
Throughout the book, Dr. Malangwasira focuses not only on the skills leaders need, but also on their own blind spots or weaknesses. As he states in the preface, leaders must “explore the differences between what people think happens when they lead others and the reality of how people feel when they are being led. This paradigm shift will help us see diversity from the a different perspective and remove the pretense that all is well when reality proves otherwise. Dr. Malangwasira goes on to state, “We need to understand how we differ from other people. However, this understanding is not enough; we also need to understand how we can work with other people and leverage our differences to build a strong team.” I find these statements valuable as when I became a manager I was often surprised that other people didn’t see things the way I did or had different reasons for working. Leaders must embrace all these diverse characteristics of their team members if they really want to lead.
Beyond knowing themselves, leaders also need to be clear about their goals and align them with a strategy to achieve them; a big part of that strategy is motivating the various members of your team to adopt those goals as their own. As the tagline on the book’s cover says, this is “a joint and independent work trip.”
Dr. Malangwasira divides the book into ten chapters that help the reader work towards this goal of using diversity to achieve a shared goal rather than letting it get in the way of achieving the goal. In Chapter 5: Inspiring Others, he outlines important steps leaders can take to inspire others. One of the most important, in my opinion, is being accessible. In Chapter 6: Attracting and Retaining Talent, he talks about how “when you have talented people, you want to make sure that those people and their talents are recognized, developed, refined, and harnessed.” He also claims that he must develop “an inclusive approach to the talent pool.” He gives examples of a company he worked for where people were hired for specific positions, but were then expected to work where the company needed them at the time, leading to high turnover and a lack of continuity in their work and progress. company general. Dr. Malangwasira concludes: “It seems obvious, but through experience I’ve learned that I have to say it. People in leadership roles need to understand that human beings can’t just put themselves where the boss wants them to be. Talented employees excel in their chosen fields. Let them do the jobs they interviewed for.”
To ensure diversity, Dr. Malangwasira also advocates creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each of his followers. Drawing on Peggy Simonsen’s work in Promoting a Culture of Development in Your Organization, he argues that leadership cannot have secret plans to develop an organization’s culture, but that “people must be active participants in its development, while Leaders need to make sure they support agreed goals.” IDPs.” I think this IDP concept is brilliant because it allows employees to feel included in their own development and that of the organization.
I will conclude by saying that I appreciate how Dr. Malangwasira writes in easy to understand language, breaking down concepts into their simplest points. This book would be an excellent resource for college students in business and leadership courses because it not only provides the basics of what it takes to be a leader, but it will also challenge them to think about what kind of leaders they will be when faced with the diversity in the world. Workplace. Each chapter ends with a series of questions for the reader; this makes the book not just a reading experience, but a personal development experience; and that is what a book that seeks to educate its readers must always achieve. Once you read this book, I think your eyes will be opened to what a diverse environment really is and how you can use diversity effectively to achieve the greatest good for your organization and everyone involved.