Workplace diversity focus of forum
Manama, December 10, 2013
The importance of workplace diversity and leadership positions for women and people with disabilities were highlighted at a conference in Bahrain yesterday (December 9).
The Bahrain Third International Leadershift Conference was held at the InterContinental Regency Bahrain under the patronage of Minister of State for Electricity and Water Affairs Dr Abdulhussain Mirza, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Dr Mirza urged those in leadership positions to listen to their colleagues and employees to adapt to an ever-changing environment, adding it was no longer a one-man show.
He also told the GDN it was important to adapt management efforts to the changing world.
"There is change in technology, politics, economy, social habits, change in the way the young generation deals with information," he said.
"Through technology, the young generation is more aware of what's going on, so they need to be managed in a different way.
"Some commercial leaderships are sticking to the way they used to do things in the past.
"You need to be more participative and create the environment for this young generation to use their potential to be creative."
He also said the number of women in leadership positions needed to be increased.
"In the Electricity and Water Authority, 32 per cent of people in leadership positions are women," he said.
"We are working to increase that.
"In the past, all over the world, some organisations did not give women the same weight as men.
"But that is changing all over the world, so here also there is change."
Conference organiser and Alqoud Consultancy chairman Khalid Alqoud said the two-day event focused on empowerment.
"The world is moving fast and our expectations are moving with it," he said.
"This conference is focusing on directing and empowering different types of leadership, including youth, businessmen, entrepreneurs and small to medium enterprises."
Bahrain University applied studies lecturer Joel Indrupati told the GDN that those employed in leadership positions need to recognise Bahrain's many ethnicities.
"One of the most important things for achieving better leadership in Bahrain is embracing multiculturalism and workplace diversity," he said.
"Unlike in most other places, we have people from different nationalities working together.
"That means the leader has to understand the different cultures of the people and be able to integrate them together so that they will work better towards the organisation's goals."
Namma Cargo managing director Abdulrazaq Al Turki, who is visually impaired, emphasised the importance of incorporating disabled people into the workplace.
"The handicapped aren't created to simply be teachers or operators," he said.
"They can do any job if they're provided with trust, training for the job they have to do, and the computers they need."
He said that many disabled individuals in the Gulf are put on the payroll but not actually made to work in order to comply with guidelines, which he said was unacceptable.
AMA International University Bahrain professor Dr Claire Cosgrove added that leaders in Bahrain need to be more inclusive, open and receptive to inputs from individuals. The conference ends today. - TradeArabia News Service