Creating and leveraging the potential benefits of a diverse group of people with unique culture, experience, skills, perspectives and giftings.


Managing diversity is basically deciding which differences make a difference and enrich the group, and which differences don't. Learn to understand without judging people. See people more as individuals and less as a member of a group, and understand your own subtle stereotyping.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.Romans 12:16

Skilled Characteristics

  • Fair

    Manages all kinds and classes of people equitably

  • Inclusive

    Deals effectively with all races, nationalities, cultures, disabilities, ages and both sexes

  • Welcoming

    Brings in a variety and diversity of staff without regard to their background or heritage

  • Equality

    Supports equal and fair treatment and opportunity for all people no matter what their background, race, gender, age or education

“It is not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races.”

– Mark Twain

Unskilled Characteristics

  • Mono-Cultural

    Not effective with groups much different from oneself

  • Uncomfortable

    May be uncomfortable interacting with those not like oneself

  • Inappropriate

    May act inappropriately with those different from oneself

  • Defensive

    Defensive with outsiders, not trusting them or including them

  • Conflict Avoiding

    Avoids conflict and the challenges of differing views and agendas

  • Lack Understanding

    Doesn’t understand the value of diversity

  • Stereotypes

    May carry around negative and demeaning stereotypes about other groups, ethnicities or cultures

How do you intentionally draw out and honor the diversity of ideas, experiences and culture of your staff?

Causes of Weakness

  • Uncomfortable

    Is uncomfortable interacting with groups of people who are different from oneself

  • Lack Training

    Believes in diversity, but does not know what to do – does not understand how diversity helps

  • Rigid

    Narrow and rigid in their way of thinking about the ‘correct’ way of doing things

  • Lack Understanding

    Thinks diversity means having double standards or being inconsistent in demonstrating one’s values and beliefs

  • Doesn't Like 'New'

    Uncomfortable with ways of doing things that are new and/or different

What is one thing you can do with your team that will help them to understand and appreciate each other’s unique background and diversity?


Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.

  • Level the Field

    LEVEL THE FIELD: For people who have had less exposure to other cultures and a broader way of doing things… consider giving them opportunities for more orientation, more training, and more cultural exposure. Also be more patient and understanding with them.

  • Stereotypes

    STEREOTYPES: Understand and correct your own subtle stereotyping. Do you think redheads have bad tempers? Blondes have more fun? Overweight people are lazy? Women are more emotional at work? Men can’t show emotion? Find out your own pattern. Attend a course which delves into perception of others. Is there a group or groups you don’t like or are uncomfortable with? Do you judge individual members of that group without really knowing if your stereotype is true?

  • Leverage

    LEVERAGE DIVERSITY: Diversity of viewpoint, background, education, culture, experience, and beliefs can all help produce a superior result from a team. Put diversity to the test yourself; attack problems with diverse teams, pull in the widest array of thinking you can and see if you get better results. Assemble the most diverse team you can who have the skills to do the job but otherwise are different. Consciously spend more of your time with people around you who are different. Solicit the points of view of each person. How do those background differences lead to viewing problems differently?

  • Experience

    GAIN MORE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Talk to people in your team, neighborhood or community who are different in some way than you. Go to lunch with them. Go to a popular sporting event or cultural event. Exchange views. Discuss ethnic festivals in your cultures. Sample each other’s foods. Learn about other’s costumes and their crafts. Study their history or language. Talk to them.