Signs You Need More Diversity In Your Network
If you lead a business or even a team, there are signs when you need a more diverse leadership network. Your network includes those who surround you every day: your colleagues, employees, associates, partners, and mentors. Anyone who bounces around concepts with you and keeps you informed about the state of your industry is a member of your network. But is your network diverse enough to help you grow, personally and professionally?
It’s comforting to spend time with people who think like you, people who usually support your ideas. But having a diverse network can help you expand your thinking. Finding people who don’t necessarily always agree with you can bring new concepts to light. Your network should include individuals from a wide variety of racial, ethnic, geographic, cultural, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. You can actively work to make sure you have all generations from Boomers to Gen Z and a wide variety of political views. This can be uncomfortable, but the benefits are exponential.
With this in mind, try to reflect on a few questions:
- How good are you at developing relationships with those who are unlike you and those who disagree with you?
- Do others tend to trust you?
- Are the members of your current network willing to cooperate with you to achieve shared goals?
With a truly diverse network, you’ll continually see your business anew. You’ll receive constructive criticism and be more sensitive to different customers. You’ll discern how your job descriptions, marketing literature and social media posts might neglect or even repel certain groups. You’ll be better equipped to attract and serve more people. And, not least, your revenue streams should increase accordingly.
Keep in mind that everyone can diversify their networks further. To do so, attend as many professional workshops and gatherings as your schedule allows. Make a point of meeting people from other industries, too. A diverse network means a diversity of professions. Consider expanding your online network as well! A few minutes a day spent on LinkedIn or Facebook can be the difference between one idea and hundreds.
What other ways can you create a more diverse leadership network? When you’re hiring human resources officers, salespeople, marketers and onboarding pros, seek inclusion experts. They can help you recruit and retain a diverse staff and customer base, and they can ensure that your training and promotional materials welcome as many people as possible.
As much as you can, keep your office door open. That way, employees can discuss their concerns with you. Make sure your mind is as open as your door. Whatever the issues may be, if you hear your employees out, you’ll build trust and, again, strengthen your network.
In addition, praise every employee who does an exceptional job. Believe it or not, recognition of a job well done can help you create a more diverse leadership network. By appreciating the value others bring, you’re creating an environment in which growing your network becomes a natural part of the process. Honest and public expression of gratitude fosters loyalty, improves workplace morale and expands your leadership network.
Leaders can get additional tools for connecting with employees from A Better Leader, an engaging online training program for dynamic and innovative leaders. If you’re always on the lookout to improve your skills and your connections, the people in your diverse network will surely give you a constant stream of fresh insights, providing you with actionable ideas every day.