Managers should switch between leadership styles to interact more effectively in a diverse workplace, says Jane Hyun, co-author of Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences, in How to Stand in Your Employees’ Shoes.
Research has shown that "diverse multicultural thinking has a positive correlation with innovation," says Hyun. However, it is up to the manager to facilitate the integration of new perspectives by encouraging openness and acknowledging differences.
According to Hyun, a leader can actually "be a bottleneck to the innovation" if they don't encourage people to speak up. Leaders should work to close the cultural, generational or gender gap that separates them from employees, creating trust and promoting communication.
"Companies are losing money due to employees that have one foot out the door because they’re not fully engaged or don’t feel understood," says Hyun. By making an effort to understand where employees are coming from, and adjusting their management style accordingly, leaders can boost engagement and retention while also encouraging innovative thinking.
Read more about what leaders can do to interact effectively with a diverse group of employees in How to Stand in Your Employees’ Shoes.