To be an effective leader, taking the time to evolve through personal development courses and programs is highly productive and incredibly beneficial.
It doesn’t just result in your own growth and improvement: It trickles down to benefit the teams you lead and positively influences the organization you work with.
However, no matter how many courses you take, life experience is often the biggest and most influential contributor to what you learn and, why you learn it.
There is a famous quote by Confucius that says: “If you’re the smartest one in the room — then you are in the wrong room.” The meaning of this quote infers that mentorship and diversity are imperative to expanding your knowledge and improving yourself as you strive to reach your personal potential.
After all, if everyone in the room is thinking the same way, has the same beliefs, or likes the same things, what benefit does it have for those in the room? It certainly doesn’t improve one’s ability to be innovative or think critically.
Diversity in the workplace results in a multitude of organizational benefits all the way down from the C-Suite to the entry-level employee.
In your role as a leader, embracing and nurturing diversity among your team and colleagues will ultimately result in your ability to lead more effectively, compassionately, and successfully.
Here are four reasons why diversity in the workplace makes you a better leader.
You’ll discover the power of multiple points of view
Because a diverse workforce is comprised of people from different cultures, different beliefs, and different backgrounds, they are most likely going to have different experiences, skills, and abilities.
As a leader, you will have an opportunity to observe and learn from these differences and, discover a multitude of new and effective ways to implement ideas and take action.
Having multiple points of view will help expand your understanding of your team, your customers, and your organization.
You’ll improve the way you think
When everyone thinks the same, it becomes more difficult to think “out-of-the-box” and you can often get stuck in your own thoughts and habits.
Employees with different backgrounds and experiences will introduce you to new ways of thinking.
You’ll begin to ask questions differently and evaluate thoughts more critically. You won’t have to spin your wheels wasting time on solving a problem because the way you think will be more efficient and productive.
You’ll increase productivity and achieve more
The link between team engagement and diversity is pretty clear. When you choose to be a leader who encourages and creates opportunities for diverse employees and team members to feel included and accepted, those workers become more engaged and feel less overlooked.
They’ll respect you for respecting them and, in turn, they’ll take responsibility for getting the tasks done that you assign to them.
As a result, not only will you have an improvement in your team productivity, you’ll become more compassionate and achieve a greater understanding of how you can make a measurable difference in your world and the lives of others.
You’ll continue to grow and improve
In a diverse and progressive workplace, the pool of people to choose from presents a greater opportunity to discover exceptional employees and to develop strong teams.
Working with people of different backgrounds, experiences, and working styles contributes to the overall success of an organization.
As a leader, these contributions provide an opportunity to incorporate this diverse knowledge into what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. And, as an added bonus, you’ll continually improve and grow not just as a leader but also, as an individual.
When you continuously demonstrate to your organization and employees that you value their hard work and results regardless of any individual differences, they’ll be more likely to encourage and support your efforts to lead them.
Surrounding yourself with individuals regardless of race, culture, nationality or religion will be a testament of who you are as a leader and as an individual.
As a result, you’ll improve morale, engagement, and productivity from the people you lead and, become the example of leadership to follow for many others.
This article first appeared on Entrepreneur.