If you think that diversity is only about race, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation, you’d be mistaken. It’s also about diversity of thinking.
This falls in line with the IAFC Human Dignity Statement, acknowledging that it’s important for each of us to be morally committed to making sure there’s equal opportunity and inclusivity for everyone.
As leaders, we must acknowledge and honor inclusion and diversity in accomplishing our mission and serving our highly diverse communities in a rapidly changing world. It will keep us on our toes to make the most use of our teams’ knowledge, skills, styles and responsiveness.
Diversity and inclusion bring different talents together to work toward a common goal and develop solutions to issues we face.
When we accept and appreciate that each individual is unique and different, especially their opinions, points of view and experiences, we avoid discrimination and disrespect and we foster trust, respect and acceptance.
Mentoring and coaching cultivate inclusiveness, providing a sense of belonging, a place for discussion of ideas and challenges both on a personal level and in the community. It creates a fair and safe environment where everyone has opportunities and challenges.
When we recognize differences, we can learn to communicate and work as a team. This encourages different types of leaders and improves productivity, morale, innovation, customer service, safety and the organization as a whole.
Everyone learns from these interactions and, in turn, works more effectively with the community.
If we ignore the effects or the existence of diversity, we’ll lose the core of our existence.
Diversity and inclusion offer the chance to be perceptive and aware of both our workforce and the citizens we serve. They give us an advantage when it comes to acting as advocates and sensing their needs.