Month: November 2013
LEA 113: Leadership Training – Understanding Diversity In The Workplace
In this third installment of the Leadership Training at Wake Tech Community College, our presenters – Noah Spencer and Shemika Bell – dropped some of the essentials to understanding diversity in the workplace on us.
“What is Diversity?” Truth be told, the answers may have been as various as the people, ethnicities, and even personalities in the room. Many people are afraid to state their definition for fear that they may do or say something wrong. This session aimed to make things clearer by opening a fear-free forum. Competencies addressed in this session included understanding diversity, gauging awareness of diversity, and promoting equality and diversity.
We opened with some exercises using our Jung Typologies ( I am an INTJ “mastermind” ) and a brief rewind of our emotional intelligence training. It was nice to see that this was still important information to consider.
Barriers to Understanding Diversity
- Denial of Issues
- Lack of Awareness/Trust
- Fear of Offending/Being seen as…
- Intercultural Differences
- Communication Styles
- Concepts of Time
- Concepts of Power
“We all have a seat at the table”
Recognizing, Understanding, and Valuing Differences
Inclusivity: Looking at our practices and procedures to ensure all have equal access and opportunities
Inclusive Excellence: A framework that incorporates achieving excellence through diversity and inclusive efforts
The Four Layers of Diversity aka The Diversity Wheel
- Functional Level/ Classification
- Geographic Location
- Work Location
Honstly, there were so many of these that I simply could not keep up. I can type 45 words per minute, and it simply wasn’t long enough for the slides
- Internal Dimensions
- External Dimensions
- Organizational Dimensions
- Intercultural Differences
- Communication Styles
- Concepts of Time
- Concepts of Power
What Does Diversity Mean?
AFFIRMING PEOPLE: Treating everyone respectfully, regardless of how you feel about their culture or lifestyle.
- Jokes negative remarks
- Not seeing omissions
- Challenging stereotypes and fears.
SHIFTING CULTURAL NORMS / VALUES
- Identifying barriers to:
- people of color
- people with disabilities
- others who experience discrimination.
- Creating an environment that removes barriers and extends cooperation.
- Understand that diversity exists.
- Acknowledge your own stereotypes and assumptions.
- Develop consciousness and acceptance of your own cultural background and style.
- Respect both the similarities and differences about people.
Attribute of a Great Leader: Emotional Intelligence
Studies have shown that people with high Emotional Intelligence (EI) have greater mental health, exemplary job performance, and more potent leadership skills, markers of EI and methods of developing it have become more widely coveted in the past few decades.
There are three main models of EI:
- Ability model
- Mixed model (usually subsumed under trait EI)
- Trait model
The initial definition of EI was revised to “The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth.” However, after pursuing further research, their definition of EI evolved into “the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions, to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”
The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment.The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:
- Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
- Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
- Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
- Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.
The ability EI model has been criticized in the research for lacking face and predictive validity in the workplace.
Mixed model outlines five main EI constructs:
- Self-awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
- Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
- Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
- Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making decisions
- Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.
Consider reading “What Makes A Leader” by Daniel Goleman.
An alternative label for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy. The trait EI model is general and subsumes the Goleman model discussed above. The conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability. This is an important distinction in as much as it bears directly on the operationalization of the construct and the theories and hypotheses that are formulated about it.
LEA 123: Leadership Training – Individualized Problem Solving Strategies
This leadership session built on the principles presented in both LEA 111 and LEA 112 by exploring how to formulate successful problem solving strategies through the understanding and appreciation of the extrovert/introvert dichotomy.
Our original Presenter: was supposed to be Amanda Sinodis (it was her birthday this week), however, Noah Spencer ended up being one of the presenters for this event (there were two).
This was a great time for me to acknowledge the help Noah Spencer had given me in the hiring process. I took the opportunity to give him the thanks that I felt appropriate, although it probably held little if any meaning in his eyes. Truth be told, that thanks was really all about me. I wanted to tell him that I was thankful, and to be pleased with the deal that I have been given. I think it was taken well, and we shook hands.
This class was really great. It was all about the differences in introverts and extroverts. The class was roughly 20 people, and only 2 were extroverts. It was interesting to hear everyone laying out their Jung Typology sets (I;m an INTJ). ALthough it was fairly lopsided type-wise in the class, I got some really good information.
Many of the problems of an interpersonal nature come from differences and perceived differences in thoughts and actions. This is especially true of introverts and extroverts. The fundamental issues between the two drop down mainly to internalizing vs. externalizing. SOme people think more before acting, others go with a gut reaction. Many differences can cause feelings of unrest or displeasing behaviors to arise.
- An introvert may wait before taking action, causing others to think they are hesitant or do not agree
- An extrovert may act on instinct, causing others to feel they are jumping to conclusions which might be untrue
- An introvert may avoid groups, causing others to feel they are shunning company or feel groups are beneath them
- Extroverts may blow up when angry or upset
- Introverts may excuse themselves even when nothing is wrong
- Extroverts may act on a suggestion without planning how to integrate it into their regime
- Introverts may carefully plan several actions before beginning a single one, stalling the outcome
During this exercise, we were asked to identify introverts/extroverts based on images alone (couldn’t really do it), and to make up stories based on what they were like based on the headshot photos. We then discussed more ways to discuss passing ideas to introverts and extroverts in order to have the best integration with our teams.
At the end, we had a really fun activity called the introvert/extrovert cocktail. We divided up into groups and were designated either introverts or extroverts and had to attend the short party session by exhibiting the most extreme behavior we could. Everybody had a great time seeing all the extremes crashing into one another or trying to quietly escape. It was a great session.