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Diversity in the Workplace, Teamwork and Leadership

Diversity in the Workplace

As a registered nurse in Orchard Health Care Center, Alabama, I have witnessed the importance of promoting diversity in the workplace because it affects different aspects of patient-nurse and nurse-nurse relationships. Particularly, I have noted that patients are becoming increasingly multicultural and, as proposed by Beheri (2009), it is only fair for the nursing population to reflect the same diversity.

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Promoting an environment of multiculturalism in the workplace has helped to make patients feel well represented and appreciated because there is always a nurse who looks like them. At the same time, diversity has helped to provide nurses with an equal opportunity for growth and development because promotions and opportunities for career growth are not pegged on ethnic, religious or personal backgrounds but on merit. These two contributions of diversity in my workplace have increased patient comfort and improved the motivation for nurses to undertake their duties effectively.

One characteristic that every employee in my organization shares is the need to evaluate individual and group performance based on skills and competencies as opposed to other performance indicators. Stated differently, employees all have a common need to be evaluated based on their actions and not necessarily the subjective opinion of management or other parties in the organization. This view closely aligns with the recommendations of Outten (2012), which point to the need for upholding professionalism in the workplace. Equality is also another attribute that all employees in my organization value. Particularly, they appreciate the consistent interaction of management with every nurse. This virtue is often upheld because double standards are disliked.

Creating and maintaining a learning culture is one strategy I would employ to accommodate similarities and differences among employees. Here, I would ensure that career development is promoted and developed at all departmental levels to give employees a chance to flourish in their work. Developing and nurturing a culture of learning would also accommodate the diversity that exists in my organization because it tolerates people’s similarities and differences.

This view aligns with the recommendations of Manion (2009), which emphasize the importance of nursing professionals to focus on the commonalities (or universality) of the human/employee experience, as opposed to the differences that separate people. Doing so stems from the recognition that there is always something to learn from anyone. Therefore, although it may be easy to disagree with people who do not share similar opinions, there is always an opportunity to learn why they may hold a contrary view. Doing so would ensure that information exchange occurs and good or bad ideas are tested and reviewed for the benefit of service delivery.

Creating, Developing, and Leading Effective Teams

As highlighted by Calendrillo (2009), it is important to promote positive teamwork in the organization because it creates synergy among different employee groups. If I was a nursing manager at my organization – Orchard Health Care Center, Alabama, I would create a functional team to improve service delivery in the healthcare facility. As implied by Pentland (2012), this type of team setup is commonly found in organizations that use traditional concepts of project management. The team would be comprised of nurses from different departments but who have different responsibilities. At the helm of the team would be a manager who will be responsible for all group decisions. However, team members will have a common purpose, which is to integrate information and coordinate care delivery. Broadly, the team would be comprised of four groups of employees. Their positions and skills are highlighted in table 1 below.

Table 1. Team Positions and Skills (Source: Developed by author).

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Position Skills
Manager
  • Drives the team agenda and makes sure everything is done according to plan
  • Should have good communication skills
  • Generates ideas and creative solutions
  • Provides a clear direction of what the team should achieve
  • Builds rapport with other team members
Team Coordinator
  • Organizes and plans team activities
  • Should have good problem-solving skills
  • Should have good decision-making skills
  • Should have good conflict resolution skills
  • Should have good communication skills
Team Worker
  • Should provide feedback in an actionable way
  • Implementing team tasks
  • Reporting conflict areas
  • Should have good persuasion and influencing skills
  • Should have good communication skills
Monitor-evaluator
  • Should be proficient in quality control
  • Should be able to evaluate and report on vendor quality and control systems
  • Should be proficient in monitoring, measuring and reviewing internal quality control processes
  • Should have good communication skills

Two leadership strategies I would employ in helping the team to effectively achieve its purpose and goals are democratic and cross-cultural transformational styles. The democratic leadership model will be employed because it allows team members to contribute towards the team’s success. It is also instrumental in helping them to achieve their goals by allowing for the delegation of authority to different levels of the team structure (Beeson, 2011).

This way, it is easy to achieve team buy-in. The transformational leadership style will be integral in promoting change within the organization’s leadership structure. At the same time, it will allow me, as the team head, to motivate employees to do more than they intended to do. Overall, I would adopt the transformation and the democratic leadership styles because both of them challenge employees to surpass their expectations and to take responsibility for team actions. Indeed, as Beeson (2011) points out, both the transformational and democratic leadership styles empower team members. This will be my goal.

References

Beeson, J. (2011). Build a strong team. Leadership Excellence, 28(2), 15.

Beheri, W.H. (2009). Diversity within nursing: Effects on nurse-nurse interaction, job satisfaction, and turnover. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 33(3), 216-226.

Calendrillo, T. (2009). Team building for a healthy work environment. Nursing Management, 40(12), 9-12.

Manion, J. (2009). Managing the multi-generational nursing workforce: Managerial and policy implications (White Paper). Web.

Outten, M.K. (2012). From veterans to nexters: Managing a multigenerational nursing workforce. Nursing Management, 43(4), 42-47.

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Pentland, A. (2012). The new science of building great teams. Harvard Business Review, 90(4), 60-70.

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