Forbes Council Post: How Management Diversity Can Positively Impact Overall Corporate Performance

Leen Kawas
3 min readJan 31, 2024

Leen Kawas | Entrepreneur, Inventor, Innovator and Leader | Managing General Partner at Propel Bio Partners.

In 2020, I became the first female CEO in 20 years to take a technology and biotech company public in Washington State. But as a woman and a first-generation American immigrant from Jordan in a traditionally male-dominated industry, the odds had seemed stacked against me. Years ago, being “different” from the majority of leaders in prominent positions of authority was a daunting thing. Many doors remained closed to me and I had to persevere.

Based on my own experiences, I have always supported inclusion and diversity not only in the workplace, but in leadership positions and the C-Suite. Today, I manage a global equity investment firm and as we search for companies and candidates for investment, I gain more expertise in the power of management diversity and how that can impact companies-from inception to IPO and beyond.

While corporate inclusion and diversity have been highlighted as an important part of overall company culture and values, management diversity has also been shown to positively impact performance. Through the lenses of diverse managerial and leadership staff, businesses can benefit from perspectives, skills and strategies that drive success, inspire others and highlight a collaborative culture.

The Importance Of Reflecting Your Workforce

Having the entire breadth of workers within an organization represented by those at the top is not only inspirational but important. Managers and leaders who reflect the diversity of the entire organization can help to bring out the best in their colleagues and support recruiting the best talent.

In addition to being representative of the myriad of employees within the organization, diverse leaders can also develop a positive, trusting and professional rapport with other members of the organization and external collaborators and partners. Building a bridge between employees and leaders in this trusting and supportive manner allows for increased transparency, accountability and goal achievement.

Why Different Viewpoints Are Positive

Diverse leaders often have diverse viewpoints, opinions, experiences and ways of achieving goals. This can be a huge asset to a company, allowing leaders to solve problems and reach goals from new angles and perspectives. If everyone had the same ideas and ways of doing things, the organization can become stagnant and miss opportunities that come with different experiences and perspectives. Gender, ethnicity, location and just pure diversity in experiences can be critical for a successful organization, especially if it looks to deliver products or services to a diverse customer base.

Impacting Corporate Culture

Company leaders often shape core values, mission statements and the overall atmosphere of a corporation. Thus, a diverse leadership team ensures that there is not only an intrinsic acceptance of employees from a myriad of lifestyles and backgrounds, but encourages a positive rapport with employees and partners alike.

Leaders within diverse organizations are well-positioned to work alongside many different types of third-party organizations, employees and investors. As globalization continues to allow for trans-continental collaboration on a professional level, the ability to effectively communicate with individuals from varying backgrounds, lifestyles and opinions is key to professional growth and company success.

How To Be An Inclusive Leader

An inclusive leader is key to upholding a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. To accomplish this feat, you should continue to acknowledge that each employee’s unique perspectives, backgrounds and experiences lend authentic and distinctive talents to the overall team and the company at large. Thus, you should encourage collaboration between diverse teams to build rapport, problem-solve in creative ways and encourage thoughtful communication. As diverse teams accomplish positive outcomes as a result of working together, these feats work to enhance their happiness and their long-term trust and belief in the collaborative and diverse spirit of the company.

Consider that differences within the workplace are often assets. To be an inclusive leader, proactively ensure that you are considering ways in which diverse parties can work together to build bridges while accomplishing goals to maximize corporate outcomes.

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