Olivet Business School (OBS) students enrolled in the Leadership course, learned about the importance of establishing diversity and inclusion at the workplace and making a constructive climate.
"Through communication, by developing positive group norms, building a cohesive team and promoting standards of excellence, a leader can provide a constructive climate in an organization," said Jacob Chatterjee, OBS Dean.
"Constructive feedback goes a long way in helping people improve their performance. A good leader will recognize the contributions of group members and express appreciation for individual excellence. This includes paying attention to group members, offering them encouragement and giving them personalized appreciation," he added.
The students also learned about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. While diversity focuses on recognizing differences, inclusion is concerned with embracing those differences. Without inclusion, diversity is meaningless.
To create a culture that embraces diversity, one should first create a culture that understands inclusion. Inclusion is achieved when people feel valued not despite but because of their uniqueness, and developing a feeling takes time.
"As Christian leaders, we can integrate diversity and inclusion in our workplace by valuing, appreciating, respecting and adapting to each other and our cultural and generational differences," Chatterjee added.
The class also focused on the challenges and barriers along the way. Especially ethnocentrism that can be a major obstacle to effective leadership because it prevents people from fully understanding or respecting the viewpoints of others. Other barriers include prejudice, stereotypes and privileges.
"It's important for leaders to address these barriers even as they must take a critical look at their own biases," Chatterjee said.