“Research has consistently showed that diverse teams produce better results, provided they are well led. The ability to bring together people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and generations and leverage all they have to offer, therefore, is a must have for leaders” (Ibarra and Hansen 2011:71).
DIVERSITY- the term used to describe the group of people arising from the combination of various religion, background, groups, race, culture, ethnicity, etc.
But the word DIVERSE does not stop with just that. In today’s world of globalization and liberalization, diversity has a bigger meaning. It also denotes people with different mind sets, different skills and diverse knowledge. Rather than connecting the word geographically, it is connected more psychologically in this day. We find diversity everywhere: universities, organisations, research areas and even in families we find diversity. Diversity therefore is a good and encouraged practice followed.
Recent research states that, diverse teams produce much better results than the teams that are not very diverse. This conclusion is because diverse teams are made of people with different mindset and attitude. This differences when put together in a right path helps in achieving the goal in a unique way. The benefits of diverse minds working together are seen on a large scale in industries and organisations. Even though diversity helps and benefits the organisation, there is the need for a proper leadership to bring together all the capabilities and creative minds together. Thus, this makes it clear that a leader is necessary to bring out success. A leader is similar to a catalyst which is needed to kindle and enhance the reaction with all the other ingredients ready.
A diverse organisation is one that values the difference and the qualities over all the other factors. The organisation encourages and harnesses these differences to make their service more relevant and approachable. Diversity on a large scale has its own advantages and disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage in a diverse organisation is the lack of cohesion between people because of their difference in culture, race or even language. These problems may look trivial but if not taken care properly might lead to a lot of confusion and even to the downfall of the organisation. This disadvantage of diverse environment emphasises on the importance of leadership because with a proper leadership and guidance these problems can be handled and the differences can be changed into success (Diversity and T., 2015).
Leadership is an important aspect. With proper leadership and guidance the odds can be changed into uniqueness of the organisation. Thus, the success or failure of diversity lies in the efficiency of the manager. The manager is the one who is responsible in choosing the team and maintaining the work in such a way that the diversity among the members is made use of. Managers need the leadership qualities and team management skills which are described through different models and theories in the literature.
DIVERSITY in EDUCATION:
Education industry is one of the major and evergreen industry which faces diversity. For example, an educational institution like a university has students comprising of all types- from different nationality to different language speaking students. Diversity creates curiosity in the minds of children. The children exposed to diverse cultures in the classroom learn to understand different points of view, which is an important aspect of learning (GreatSchools, 2015). When children grow up in a diverse surrounding they learn the ways to handle the world which is very diverse by itself. In the case of an educational institution the managers can be termed as the teachers and the education directors as they are the direct leaders of the students.
With different models and theories explaining leadership, I feel that the transformational leadership model developed by MacGreger Burns, is the most suitable for explaining and substantiating the importance of leadership in a diverse organisation such as a education institution.
TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP: explains us the concept,
“Leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral and motivation.”
The leader/manager in case of an education institution refers to the teacher and professors. Thus with this in mind when we look at the components of this model we understand the importance of leadership (Changingminds.org, 2015).
- Intellectual Simulation: The leader not only challenges their followers but also encourages them to find new ways of doing things and thus enhance the creativity.
- Individual Consideration: the leader offers support and encouragement to the followers and also maintains constant lines of communication to help the follower feel the same passion throughout.
- Inspirational Motivation: leaders have a clear understanding of the goals and also help the followers to have a clear goal and help in achieving them.
- Idealised Influence: the leader serve as a role model. The followers trust and respect the leader and they emulate this individual and internalise his/her ideals.
According to this model of leadership, the leader is the one who drives the inspiration in the followers and helps in the identification of goals and in achieving those (Cherry, 2015). Thus in a group of diverse students it is the responsibility of the teacher to have a clear understanding of everyone’s potential and encourage the individual accordingly.
A recent research conducted with a group of school students revealed the truth behind the statement. The study covered students of the same majors and the efficiency was checked and when the team of students were mixed, the group containing different majors did not produce efficient results but on proper training and guidance, the group was seemed to produce good results. This further proves us that, proper leadership is what is necessary to get the best result from diverse groups (Winter K, 2008).
Diversity is the mother of creation. When there is diversity in thoughts and action, which is when innovation and creativity is born. Thus the proper streaming of the differences is necessary to earn the benefits of diversity. A leader is the one who can stream and guide different personalities together to achieve the goal. In case of the education industry, it is the duty of the teachers and directors to make sure that the diversity in the institution bores fruits to every individual. Proper leadership of a diverse society/surrounding leads to productivity which in turn leads to the success of individuals as well as the organisation.
Cherry, K. (2015). How Do Transformational Leaders Inspire?. [online] About.com Education. Available at: http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/a/transformational.htm [Accessed 13 Mar. 2015].
Changingminds.org, (2015). Transformational Leadership. [online] Available at: http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/transformational_leadership.htm [Accessed 13 Mar. 2015].
Baumgartner, J. (2015). Why Diversity is the Mother of Creativity | Innovation Management. [online] Innovationmanagement.se. Available at: http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/why-diversity-is-the-mother-of-creativity/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2015].
Diversity, T. and T., S. (2015). The Importance and Benefits of Diversity | Teen Essay on the Environment. [online] Teenink.com. Available at: http://www.teenink.com/opinion/environment/article/465407/The-Importance-and-Benefits-of-Diversity/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2015].
GreatSchools, (2015). How important is cultural diversity at your school?. [online] Available at: http://www.greatschools.org/find-a-school/defining-your-ideal/284-cultural-diversity-at-school.gs [Accessed 13 Mar. 2015].