I’ve Got Your Back: Why Diversity Initiatives Need a Trust-Building Framework

Being different isn’t always easy. In organizational settings, small differences can lead to big problems if managers are unable to recognize, accept, and address the challenges posed by differences among their workforce. The tradeoff for creating an environment that embraces and supports diversity, however, is enormous: increased innovation, performance, and resilience to name just three. 

The World Economic Forum, OECD, UNICEF, and other global agencies deeply invested in the workforce of the future have each defined numerous transferable skills that are most necessary for a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous future. 

And well-functioning diverse workforces can deliver on ALL of these skills.

The Power of Diversity Lives in What We Value

Alignment is created when we can connect on common ground. This means shining a light on shared values like work ethic and commitment to the company mission. Shifting culture doesn’t happen overnight, but it can grow quickly when a forum for candor is created by a leader who is willing to acknowledge where differences exist and how they are getting in the way. Without first addressing differences, a leader can easily become mired down in arguments and conflict.

People of all ages value feeling seen, heard, and safe. Creating an environment of trust requires helping people identify and elaborate on shared values. Highly productive working teams function well together because of what they have in common—not because of what they don’t.

Leaders who build their teams based on alignment rather than differences will foster the benefits of diversity. In so doing, their workforce can flourish and grow with them, future-proofing their organization in the process.

Diversity Fuels Higher Performance

Trust is the glue that holds diverse groups together. Knowing that your coworkers “have your back” makes you less fearful of taking risks. It also gives people the security the need to perform, create, and solve—and the correlation between this safeguard and high performance is clear.

Some of the benefits of a diverse workplace with shared values include:

  • Improved critical thinking and reasoning
  • Originality and innovation
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Increased resilience and adaptability
  • Enhanced social influence

Data from our 2023 Trust Outlook, indicates that people from all over the world are embracing the benefits of a diverse workforce and want to align with others who share their values.

Featured Pillar of Trust: Competency

Staying the same doesn’t lead to growth—nor does it inspire it. Nobody wants to learn from a teacher who has been teaching the same things in the same way their entire career. Nobody wants to follow a leader who hasn’t adapted their leadership style to reflect the needs of their current team. Nobody seeks out a company with a reputation for maintaining an expired status quo.

People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable. This goes for entire organizations as much as individual leaders.

Trust Exercise: Make a habit of exposing yourself often to fresh information, opinions, and perspectives.

The humble, curious, and teachable person is always asking questions, learning new ways of doing things and staying current on trends and new ideas. Leaders who walk the proverbial walk can turn differences into alignment, and diversity into performance.

Invest in Trust-Building

Whether your organization has an established DEI program or is only beginning to see the value of these drivers, trust-building initiatives can help overcome the challenges posed by differences and elevate the benefits of diversity in your organization.

The Trust Edge Certification Program provides the tools, training, and—perhaps most valuable of all—the community to create high-performing cultures of trust. Interested in meeting some of our Trust Edge Certified Partners? Visit our Certified Directory.

Are you interested in the Trust Edge Certification Program? Schedule a 15-minute discovery call today to take your place in our Trust Edge Certified Partner Directory.

  1. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/top-10-work-skills-of-tomorrow-how-long-it-takes-to-learn-them/
  2. https://www.oecd.org/education/2030-project/teaching-and-learning/learning/skills/Skills_for_2030_concept_note.pdf
  3. https://www.unicef.org/lac/media/31591/file/The%2012%20Transferable%20Skills.pdf
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