On 24 September, we celebrate Heritage day in South Africa; a day where we are encouraged to celebrate our diverse cultures, beliefs and traditions. In a country that is a mixing pot of so many different races and creeds, it’s easy to experience conflict and misunderstanding in all spheres of life – particularly the work context.
Have you ever wondered why you may approach work in a systematic, planned manner – whereas a colleague leaves tasks and projects to the last minute? Or perhaps you aspire to work hard, make a positive impression on your line manager so that you are the natural choice when it comes to the opportunity for promotion – whereas others may seem to have little to no interest in climbing the ‘corporate ladder’? The obvious notion is the differences in our personalities are responsible – but is there something more impactful that dictates our approach to work and life in general? Quite simply - the answer is yes. Our unconscious value paradigms – or the way in which we view our worlds – have a massive impact in the decisions we make, the life-partners we seek out, the manner in which we behave, and career paths we select.
In a simplistic example, take a young 20-something graduate: he may view the world and life in general as an opportunity to ‘leave his mark’. He may be eager to put in overtime hours, craves the opportunity to travel for work, and enjoys the commission based structure of his salary as he yearns for massive rewards for his efforts. Compare him to a 30-something year old single mom. She may appreciate a stable job, where she can leave work at 16:00 sharp to get to pick her children up from crèche at a reasonable hour. This young woman may prefer a career where she can look forward to a stable salary, and takes comfort in the fact that she has a provident fund and medical aid provided for.
Our values are largely unconscious, so it makes sense that if we are not largely aware of reason we behave the way we do – how on earth do we expect ourselves (and others) to understand the behaviour of the colleague who, for example, sees the organisation at a living, integrated system, with a responsibility toward the environment. That person may just be considered a “weirdo”.
Psychometric assessments are notoriously used for the placement of individuals, and the same data can be used for career pathing and potential succession planning. However, certain tools can also be used to ascertain whether or not a candidate not only meets the job role’s minimum criteria, but fits in with the culture of the organisation at large. Furthermore, a common “language” can be used to not only communicate and reach understanding with one another, but to create expectations, delegate instructions and understand outputs from each individual.
If you would like more information on assessments that can unpack the above mentioned information, get in touch with us.
Move beyond understanding diversity; embrace it. Celebrate your Heritage.
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