The Relationship Between VERSATILITY AND DIVERSITY Among LEADERS

January 24, 2019 | Andrea CinqMars | TRACOM Group
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WHAT IS DIVERSITY?

Most large organizations have made strides to increase diversity in their workforces, and many implement diversity training to help their leaders and employees be more aware of the issues faced by a diverse workforce. But too often this training fails to achieve its desired results and can leave people feeling confused about what concrete steps they can take to benefit from an understanding of diversity; in essence they miss out on the more important aspect of Diversity & Inclusiveness initiatives -- the “inclusiveness” element of the equation.

Part of the problem is that some organizations don’t provide their people with a clear definition of diversity or how it can benefit their teams and goals. According to an article in Training Magazine, the most effective training programs treat diversity as an inclusive process, rather than focus on hiring for cross-cultural representation. Essentially, diversity encompasses any dimension that differentiates a person or group from others. This definition includes everyone. Since we are all different from one another, we all contribute our own unique perspectives and abilities. The key is to educate people about how to leverage these differences for business success.

HOW IS SOCIAL STYLE RELATED TO DIVERSITY?

SOCIAL STYLE® describes differences and similarities in people’s natural behaviors and work preferences, with the ultimate goal of teaching people how to manage those preferences for increased productivity and effectiveness. Over many years of practice and research, we’ve found that each Style has specific strengths that help them succeed in their work lives. However, one person’s strengths can be another person’s stress. Success at the team and organizational levels requires people of all Styles to work together, and in order for this to happen they need to understand basic Style differences and how to manage these differences. Regardless of a person’s ethnicity, age, or nationality, he or she will have behavioral preferences that result in a particular SOCIAL STYLE.

TRACOM collects data from across the world and we’ve found that all people can be described by their Style behaviors, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or nationality. This is important because it means that one of the most effective ways to work toward success is to understand other people’s SOCIAL STYLE. In essence, this is the gateway to getting to know others and working effectively with them.

RESEARCH OVERVIEW In a study of 143 managers at a large multinational defense contractor, The TRACOM Group found that managers with high Versatility were rated significantly more effective at promoting Diversity and Inclusiveness (D&I) than managers with lower Versatility. Importantly, these evaluations came from the managers’ direct reports, those in the best position to determine D&I behaviors. Managers with high Versatility were more likely to engage in pro-diversity behaviors, such as actively trying to understand others’ experiences and perspectives, recognizing employees’ contributions, fostering a welcoming environment for the team and valuing different opinions. Highly Versatile managers were rated up to 17% more effective on these behaviors than low Versatile managers.

It’s important to note that Versatility is one aspect of the overall SOCIAL STYLE Model. It measures a person’s ability to build effective relationships with others. The Model additionally identifies four unique SOCIAL STYLEs which are preferred patterns of behavior. The four Styles are Driving, Expressive, Amiable and Analytical. This research found no relationship between a person’s unique SOCIAL STYLE and D&I performance, only between Versatility and D&I. In fact, TRACOM discovered that Versatility accounted for 21% of the variance in D&I practices, whereas SOCIAL STYLE did not account for any of the variance. Since Versatility can be learned and practiced, this means that any manager can learn to behave with higher Versatility, and this is likely to impact D&I practices, among other performance outcomes. WHAT IS VERSATILITY? Versatility is the best predictor of success and the key to boosting interpersonal effectiveness in the real world, whether at work, at home or in any social setting. Versatile employees know how to leverage the strengths of their own Style while recognizing and responding in appropriate ways to others’ unique Styles. When people interact with one another, they consciously and subconsciously observe and evaluate each other’s behaviors. TRACOM’s research has shown that the behaviors others often evaluate can be categorized into four broad areas: Image, Presentation, Competence and Feedback. The impact of your behavior on others in these four areas is called Versatility.

Learn more about how diversity improves when Versatility is factored in – especially among leaders in an organization. Click the content below to access the full research report:

The Relationship Between Versatility & Diversity Among Leaders

In a study of 143 managers at a large multinational defense contractor, The TRACOM Group found that managers with high Versatility were rated significantly more effective at promoting Diversity and Inclusiveness (D&I) than managers with lower Versatility. Importantly, these evaluations came from the managers’ direct reports, those in the best position to determine D&I behaviors.