K. Iwata Associates, Inc. has conducted extensive, ground breaking research into the attributes and behaviors of leaders and managers who consistently demonstrate competency with diversity and inclusion.

KIA's research is the first of its kind in the field of diversity management; never before has a project of this size and design been conducted across such a wide variety of industries and sectors. In total, eighteen companies, sixteen Diversity Councils and 135 individuals from the US and Canada participated in extensive surveys and interviews, and a full range of constituents (managers, leaders and employees) to provide a broad understanding of how to leverage workforce diversity. KIA's findings offer a rich and valuable resource to identify and understand the dynamics of diversity competence.

While other books, articles and lists identify a range of diversity competencies and provide valuable insights on effective diversity management, these sources often result from the observations and experiences of the authors. At the same time, field research generated by employees, managers, leaders and their organizations remain limited to observational analyses. To fill this gap, KIA performed extensive field studies and supplemented its findings with practical tools and advice for managers, leaders and organizations. Specifically, KIA's research encompasses the following objectives: Identify the specific skills and abilities of Diversity-Competent managers and leaders from the perspective of employees, increase management's understanding of why and how managers and leaders acquire these competencies, and learn how other managers and leaders can develop the competencies. Your organization can leverage and build upon KIA's research efforts to develop leadership modules and training programs. Issues and concluding remarks are summarized in depth in KIA's book, The POWER of the Diversity: 5 Essential Competencies for Leading a Diverse Workforce. Some notable excerpts:

Diversity-Competence Defined: Diversity Competent managers and leaders have the unique ability to identify, develop, motivate and fully utilize the talents and skills of a diverse workforce to achieve superior results...

There were no significant differences across industry sectors represented by the participating organizations. In one way this surprised the team, as the industries were very different. On the other hand it validated what has been the observation of many diversity consultants in the field: Which is that there is a great deal of similarity in what employees are looking for in their managers and leader when it comes to diversity. These themes were then organized and consolidated. What emerged were five key competencies and accompanying behaviors that seems to matter most to being a Diversity-Competent leader or manager. We came to call these the POWER competencies.

  • Proactive Advocates of Diversity
  • Optimum People Developers
  • Willing Innovators
  • Exemplary Values-Based Decision Makers
  • Results-through-People Achievers...

Respondents reported that people needed to trust and respect a leader before they follow him or her. Managers and leaders cited the importance of consistency, honesty, integrity, fairness, and courage. They said it was important to give people the truth even if they did not like it. By being open and honest, you let people know where they stand with you. They recognize that you are subject to mistakes that you are willing to learn from. Integrity means you do what you say you'll do. Courage means you challenge the status quo when it is not aligned with requirements.

Examples of practices:
  • Consistently adhering to their own set of personal core values
  • Realizing the importance of personally relating to people in one-on-one conversations and not embarrassing people in front of a group
  • Leading by example and teaching by actions...

For more information on KIA research or The POWER of the Diversity: 5 Essential Competencies for Leading a Diverse Workforce, please contact us at 510.471.7840 or email kay@kiwata.com robin@kiwata.com.

32466 Monterey Drive, Union City, CA 94587 | tel: 510.471.7840 | fax: 510.487.6106 | Robin or Kay