Niels helps managers to become better leaders by making them master the concept of sustainable leadership. He also works to bring Diversity and Inclusion to the centre of attention of organisations and the people who work there.
Many organisations say that they treat equality, diversity & inclusion as a ‘must have’, yet often it is an area where budget is not prioritised, raising the question as to whether this is now a ‘tick box’ exercise designed to merely avoid scrutiny
McKinsey conducted research where the results show 43% of companies that have a diversity workforce can drive better results. Niels therefore states that as a leader when you are not diverse you are actively harming the organisation.
Many people are still scared to engage with D&I for fear of getting wrong or asking the wrong question. Organisations have therefore got to allow education through training, so they are not constrained by this and staff are assisted in becoming culturally competent. Niels believes that organisations need to invest in continual training of their staff, remembering that this needs refreshing, as society changes. He says it only takes one badly thought-out phrase in public to harm the organisation. All too often organisations rely on e-learning for this, which can be problematic because it is not tailored, and people need interaction where they are able to ask questions in a ‘live’ circumstance so they can learn and be better next time.
Niels was surprised when he moved to the UK from Germany that organisations could be judged based on their postcode. We still hear the statement that ‘when people work hard, they will get what they deserve’, which gives the impression that anyone can achieve anything if they work hard enough, without considering that for some, whether it be social standing, education etc, will have an advantage. Meritocracy only exists if we all start in the same situation
As a leader within an organisation your job is to take pride in others success, without taking any credit and this is something that Niels says many struggle with. All too often senior staff all come from a certain network, perhaps graduating from one of the top 5 universities and are recruited because they are the norm and what has always been. To a new employee this can give the impression that the firm is not diverse, or it is not something that is important to them. Quite often it is because we are locked into the belief system that what has come before has worked, so why would we change it. Niels says that individuals in these positions need to see their privilege and let others come forward to ensure everyone is given a fair chance. Many leaders are worried diversity will impact them on a personal level and they want to remain in their ‘privilege bubble’, so try and protect themselves against it. Instead, we should be recruiting based on who is the best person for the job.
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