The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: “Diversity in the Workplace: What, Why, How” with Giavanna Munafo

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This ongoing series explores sessions of the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) through participant narratives. MLDP is a one-term program designed to develop citizen leaders among sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Dartmouth College. Led by expert guest speakers each week, sessions employ experiential teaching techniques to engage students through hands-on learning of core management and leadership skills. 

MLDP Participants discuss diversity in the workplace.

During the seventh spring-term session of MLDP, Giavanna Munafo – co-founder of Meyers & Munafo, Advancing Excellence through Diversity and Inclusion -- discussed issues pertaining to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and other group settings. Workplaces are "diverse communities," Munafo said, that are made up of people who contribute different experiences and perspectives that add value and complexity. Because work environments are so diverse, leaders in these settings are often faced with challenges and must expect some conflict to arise, according to Munafo. It is the job of leaders to "make the diversity work," she said.

Despite the higher chance for conflict, diverse communities also have a better chance of producing excellence. To achieve such ends, leaders must be inclusive, Munafo said. Leaders in work environments "need to make sure policies are fair, and then need to implement them consistently and fairly," she said. In order for leaders to oversee equitable policies, they must eliminate bias, or at least be attuned to different perspectives. Munafo encouraged students to examine their own biases through a serious of activities. Munafo also recommended that responsible leaders know how to confront their own biases when arbitrating over a conflict. She suggested that students ask for time to react to the issue, and then assess their emotions and investigate the matter further.

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