Empowering Diverse Teams by Supporting their Professional Growth

by | Oct 17, 2022 | Corporate culture, Personal Brand, Professional Confidence, Women

Increasingly, I’m seeing the rise of Diversity & Inclusion programs to support professionals from different backgrounds or with different needs to flourish in their chosen career. This is an important stepping stone to achieving a business landscape that is inclusive and makes the most of the whole range of talent that is available. Until we achieve this, there remain challenges and experiences at work that are particular to certain groups or individuals, that need to be considered when designing an inclusive and supportive space to grow.

Some of the challenges I’ve heard people mention when they feel they don’t fit in with the ‘norm’, include – in their words:

  • “I’ve had to jump through more hoops to get to where I am.”
  • “I had to prove, right from the start, that I’d stick around.”
  • “I didn’t think I could ask for what I needed in order to make it work.”
  • “I can easily advocate for others, but not for myself.”
  • “I can’t do business development and sales conversations the expected way.”
  • “I am constantly talked over.”
  • “I feel like I’m not in the club.”

There has been much said about bias in the business world, along with the dangers of stereotyping and early conditioning in society. In workshops with teams and groups of professional people, when the issue of ‘who has power and who has not’ in business settings comes up in discussion, my approach is to separate experiences into ‘internal’ and ‘external’ landscapes.

While the external environments we face are filled with factors we individually can’t control, like workplace structures, hierarchies and cultural norms… there are some things on the outside we can personally influence – like how people see us.

More importantly, our internal environment – how we think about ourselves and how we choose to see situations and other people – is filled with opportunities for self-empowerment. When we take time to understand our strengths and the value this contributes to others, for example, we come from a place of heightened confidence, clarity and personal power.

So how do we create structures to explore how to increase our sense of personal power and grow our influence as professionals? To me, it’s about focusing on what we CAN do.

Empowering our diverse teams to grow their professional influence

While being transparent and being allowed to talk about the real issues facing staff are important in an organisational culture, it’s also important not to stay here, but to move on to constructive conversations and experiences that empower all staff to grow.

When asked to work directly with diverse teams, my approach to supporting staff to feel empowered follows these 3 P’s:


Developing our ability to influence others and empower ourselves


How visible we are to others, and what we communicate about the value we bring


Our ‘internal world’: Mindset, self-talk, preparation and habits for confidence

The topics we cover in each of these key components include:

Personal Power

What does it mean to be ‘powerful’? How do we develop a sense of personal leadership in our own lives? How can an understanding of cognitive bias and influence research help us to be more empowered to achieve our professional goals? What practical tools are there for building influence and credibility with others?

Personal Brand

What’s important to know about first impressions, in person and online? How can we assess where our personal brand is currently at? What kinds of roadblocks do people experience in building their personal brands, and how can these be overcome? How do you develop clear personal brand positioning now, and how can you develop and grow your personal brand throughout your career?

Professional Confidence

How does our mindset and self-talk affect our performance in professional contexts? What daily habits can we build to strengthen our professional and personal confidence, and what tools do we need in our toolkit to tackle ‘scary’ scenarios and be ready for anything at work (such as pitching, presenting, networking, sales, leading, negotiating, difficult conversations)?

Building your program

If you are building out a program to empower your increasingly diverse teams – that’s great – and you need to create a safe space for this to unfold. The best place to start, whether or not you have experts working with you, is to engage your people in what they need to see in order to feel safe and enthusiastic about participating in your program.  Being seen and heard should be at the start, middle and end of all your People & Culture programs!

Brand Culture by NWC slide deck image