Valuing Diversity of Experience, Background and Ideas
I have read a lot of books on leadership over the years and some of the most important lessons I learned were from the people I worked with. One trait I always saw in good leaders is they seek input from the individuals around them, so I decided to make that a routine practice too. I’m never disappointed when I turn to others in the room and ask what they think because their input enriches an idea I may have and opens me and the team up to new ways of thinking.
Just as important as asking for input is choosing the people you seek it from. I try to seek counsel from people who have a diverse set of experiences, ideas and backgrounds because that enriches the conversation as well as the skillset.
This is one of the reasons I appreciate events like Black History Month, which just ended in February, and National Women’s History Month, which is starting now in March, and other events that celebrate our rich history and diversity. These activities remind us that people with varied backgrounds often bring with them diversity of thought and ideas too. They add layers of valuable perspective on top of their expertise and knowledge.
In the ATO, we place a high value on diversity and inclusion. Our Management Services team is working on fresh guidance for recruiting future employees from a more diverse candidate pool, while promoting inclusion within our current workforce.
The team collaborates with Employee Associations to provide notice of new vacancies for dissemination and outreach. This year we will hire more than 1,700 air traffic controllers and more than 200 technicians, along with new employees in many other disciplines. These are opportunities to increase the number of women and minorities in all professions.
We may be limited financially in our ability to hire for many positions, but we continue to fill these safety- and mission-critical jobs. Look for an announcement for experienced controllers in March and one for the general public in June. A more diverse and inclusive workforce benefits the organization in so many ways, and makes the ATO a better place to work.
As we make every effort to have a diverse workforce, let’s also work to make everyone’s input feel valued. We have a lot we can learn from one another. And be sure to check out the FAA Broadcast message for events celebrating our diversity.