The Loudest Duck by Laura Liswood explains and grasps workplace diversity issues and offers ideas for overcoming these challenges, by creating an equitable environment at work. It is very revealing, in that, it opens our minds to the many ways in which the most well-meaning manager or leader can inadvertently undermine diversity. Not realizing the negative impact these actions can have on our colleagues and on the organization itself. Diversity is not a new concept and organizations have dealt with people of diverse backgrounds for decades. This includes individuals from different sexes, ethnicities, and other variables that can define their political, social and economic status. Organizations embrace diversity to incorporate people of multiple attributes such as language, gender, physical abilities, age, religion and sexual orientation. Moreover, globalized economic changes have influenced the structure of many work environments to include individuals of diverse backgrounds. As a result, the management of diversity and promotion of a diverse culture can be a difficult area to navigate for some leaders. The Loudest Duck shows how organizations deal with diversity in a way that positively affects some and negatively affects others. Providing guidance on what leaders can do to promote inclusive and cultural awareness within their organization. As already stated, globalization has increased the level of interaction in the workforce between people of diverse backgrounds. However, it must be noted that diversity may be a challenge to achieve within an organization, but not impossible. This paper will reflect on the book the Loudest Duck and discuss the core components and challenges of being an influential, inclusive leader within an organization.
As an inclusive leader, you must adopt, and demonstrate a set of core values. Which define the purpose of your organization and place human relationships center stage. These values include the restraint in the use of power, the elevation of service above self-interest, and respect for the individual. These values would need to be found not only in the organizations management but also among employees, investors, suppliers and the community. An inclusive leader would recognize that each person brings to the group a unique perspective which can be utilized to promote success within that organization. Each person’s cultural identity is multifaceted, and it is the intersection of all facets that make up who the organization is.
Inclusion is a system for making sure the organization is welcoming at every level to every individual. Inclusion is about diversity of thought. About finding like-mindedness in our differences. It’s about embracing those differences and further exploring them to support the values that unite and serve as our competitive advantages to stimulate new growth, attract new talent, and generate new marketplace opportunities. But to do that requires a focus on individuality – a concerted effort to know and account for the realities and the values of individual employees (Llopis G, 2017).
It is important for organizations tounderstanding the impact of diversity and inclusion in today’s world. Law enforcement is an industry that has suffered from a lack of diversity. There is a need to create awareness and inclusion within most law enforcement organizations, mine included. Over the years I have developed several diversity and inclusion initiatives to bring awareness to my organization. They all focused on command staff learning facts and values of diversity, personal leadership, and the organizations purpose/mission. Challenging their viewpoints to help develop strategies that would lead to greater organizational effectiveness. The command staff learned the deeper meaning and effects of diversity and inclusion for the department. Additionally, they gathered information that would help them connect their personal belief systems and goals to the objectives of the organization. As key stakeholders in the organization, they were charged with promoting the philosophy of inclusion and passing it down to the officers.
Leaders face many challenges when working to manage diverse teams within their organizations. They must deal with discrimination, stereotypes, and the issue of ethnocentrism. This theory states that there are dominate and non-dominate groups in the workplace (Liswood L. 2010 pg. 2). Having this mindset within an organization can cause hostile work environments and reduce productivity, leading to retention issues from high performing employees. The organization loses the opportunity for a return of investment from the employees who leave. These employees feel alienated by those who think that they are not equal and therefore, not welcomed. This negative attrition trend drives down the level of creativity, innovation and performance.
Within my current organization, there was a realization that we had issues with diversity regarding gender. The command staff needed to develop a solution to remedy the obvious bias and legal issues. However, the department leaders were resistant to change and there was no progress for years. People need to realize that creating diverse environments is, in effect, all about change (Liswood, L. 2010 pg. 5). I recommended we bring in someone from outside of our organization that had a wealth of experience in implementing diversity and inclusion programs.
This individual was called a change manager. This was someone that could assess our organization from the outside and then after a period of time, was able to see our organization from the inside.
Change management is “the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes” (Horstein H. 2015).
The change management approach utilized, helped develop a new mission focused on diversity, inclusion and overall better leadership for my organization, that is still in place today. As a result, structured organizational strategies were implemented that helped the organization run efficiently and engaged our officers with the community in a positive way.
Effective organization strategies depend on many components to be successful. Some important components of an organization should include, a detailed communication plan, a structured problem-solving process, a diverse management team, and knowledgeable leadership. Having effective leaders who are knowledgeable in knowing the difference between power and influence is important for an organizations success. When thinking about the word power, we often have a negative reaction, that power in itself is bad. However, power is an important part of leadership. It is a reality that certain individuals are in positions of power and this gives them authority and sometimes respect which can influence employees. Influence is the ability to gain acceptance to one’s requests and ideas. This means having others willingly wanting to cooperate and follow you. As a leader, power is the potential to influence behavior, to change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to get things done through others. This is why for an organization, having a clear mission based on inclusion and collaboration that is promoted by the organizations leaders lends to that organizations success.
Managing diversity is what creates an organized culture where secondary and primary dimensions are achieved. Implementing new policies such as diversity practices need to start at the very top. Within a law enforcement agency, influence comes from the command staff and trickles down to the officers.
Ethically sound decision making and behavior, are a product of direct communication of conduct expectations. This conduct is demonstrated by example from the top of any organization and influences downward. Actions are what matter. The core components of an ethical code should be: respect, trustworthiness, responsibility, fairness, and caring (Muse, R. 2019).
After reading The Loudest Duck I realized that when creating my code of ethics for LDR 502, I failed to include inclusion as one of my core components. Diversity was something I felt my agency did well and so, I gave it no consideration. However, I now understand diversity is one of those issues that affect leaders, managers, employees, and everyone in between and should be constantly evaluated. My agency needs to understand that diversity is inclusion and is a real issue that must be addressed to ensure our departments success in this increasingly global world.
I believe that once my organizations command staff and campus stakeholders are armed with the knowledge of the intricacies of diversity issues that can cause conflict in the workplace, we will be in a better position to improve relations amongst our employees. I will be providing my organizations command staff copies of The Loudest Duck.
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- Bourke J., Espedido A. (2019). Why Inclusive Leaders Are Good for Organizations, and How to Become One, Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2019/03/why-inclusive-leaders-are-good-for-organizations-and-how-to-become-one
- Hornstein, H. (2015). The integration of project management and organizational change management is now a necessity. International Journal of Project Management,33(2), 291-298. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2014
- Liswood, L. (2010). The Loudest Duck: Moving beyond Diversity While Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at Work. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, pg. 2 & 5
- Llopis G. (2017). https://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2017/11/27/5-ways-inclusion-helps-leaders-influence-more/#283c897e221e
- Muse, R. (2019). Muse Professional Ethical Code & Ethical Leadership Essay, Retrieved from https://campusweb.myunion.edu/ICS/Academics/LDR/LDR__502/1819_SLDR__502-11___O/Coursework Assignments
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- Smartsheet.com (ND). 8 Elements of an Effective Change Management Process, Retrieved from https://www.smartsheet.com/8-elements-effective-change-management-process
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