These leaders are so terrified about messing up and saying the wrong thing to all their stakeholders âemployees, board members, funders, clients, customers â or the wider world via social media â that theyâre paralyzed into inaction. Once they are done, they then list stereotypes they have heard over the years about the identities they have listed. Having âoperationalizedâ the process, they are beginning to realize that they have left out an important part of the equation and are seeking ways to correct it. Acknowledging those reveals and restating them for understanding is critical for employees to develop a true sense of belonging. Courageous conversations about diversity online. I amâ¦But I am Not â This activity is an effective way to start a brave conversational path. These activities can include things such as: My Fullest Name â This activity is great for groups who arenât familiar with one another. In addition to standing up for others yourself, you signal to others that it is also safe for them to do so. It may be unintentional, but by keeping feedback positive, the tone is set that hard discussions, short rants, âletting off steamâ and other modes of expression are fine and even expected. In companies seeking to undertake a culture change and positively impact their D&I, those reservations may be stronger and harder to overcome. A healthy and vibrant company culture canât exist without engaged employees. Others have a culturally diverse workforce based on proximity to a major metropolitan area. At the end of the day, truly functional Diversity and Inclusion canât exist without a healthy and vibrant company culture. Suspend your judgement, reduce your instinct to respond reactively, and take time to deeply reflect on what your people are telling you. Push yourself to communicate candidly about difficult topics. Diversity is discussed in a broad sense in But you need to start somewhere. Do something? Your actions as a leader are doubly powerful. To contribute? Taking the time to understand the cultural background of the employees will make having brave conversations easier. We have stopped all activities across the world and spent time adapting to a new reality. As a leader you need to be careful in the words you use, but donât let your fear replace your curiosity. Diversity and inclusion is a key issue for HR professionals, but rather than viewing it as a ‘tick box’ exercise, we need to learn to live these values day to day, and not shy away from challenging conversations. Inclusion means that people with marginalized identities feel as if they: genuinely belong, are valued and relied upon, empowered and ultimately matter. I bring portraits to life, I enjoy directing moments, having conversations with people and … Just as employees in many cookie-cutter safety programs know their employers want them to watch the video and sign the acknowledgement without hearing their concerns or feedback, employees will know when an effort to improve culture or have a conversation is more a mandate than a mutually beneficial exercise. But often, the tone is set by a leader that stifles or represses feedback. Show courage not just in what you ask but in how you listen. These conversations are emotional and their hard. Advice for leaders who are afraid of saying the wrong thing. The problem is that they donât include the employees they seek to protect in the development of the initiative and therefore miss the kind of input and feedback that would genuinely help develop training the employees. There is no playbook for standing face-to-face with inequity, injustice, and oppression while running a business or organization. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Implications of the COVID-19 Response April 7, 2020. But leaders should be aware of the impact they can have by taking the first step. It may be a nickname and how they got it. Should they say something? Whose voice or what perspective is missing from this conversation? But if the risks of strict âoperationalâ focus of the example above is true for fundamental issues such as employee safety, they are even more so for the vastly more complex issue of Diversity and Inclusion and their deep reliance upon culture. This series features community members who are doing the work of advancing inclusion and diversity, who celebrate how Canada is more like a "stew" than a "melting pot". Each person writes down the three identities they hold most dear and uses that as a description of their name. In others, eye contact with a parent is considered disrespectful. Posted on. 2. There's a moral component about people wanting to be good people. Ask questions like: If youâre afraid of making a vocabulary blunder â using the wrong terminology for someoneâs race, for example, or misgendering people â just ask about their pronouns or what role race plays in how they experience the workplace. Learning to speak up about diversity is uncomfortable — but it’s critical for leaders who want to build inclusive workplaces. While 27 percent of chief diversity officers find themselves still having to make the case for diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace, the good news is that the majority of top leaders already understand how critical these efforts are. Take my experience at Google in the summer of 2015, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement. Would I look over messages they were drafting for their teams before they sent them? To get over your fears, ask the right questions, read up on books and other resources that will help you better understand your marginalized colleagues, and learn to embrace the discomfort of talking about and tackling tough issues. For an exploration of identity, gender and race, read Jodi Pattersonâs The Bold World. Today’s successful businesses are weaving diversity, inclusion, and belonging into their culture, and they’re not shying away from the difficult conversations that may arise with an open dialog. But there are many resources that can help you better understand the dynamics and the voices at play. How can I help amplify your voice and that of other underrepresented voices. Being open-minded â Beyond just hearing other viewpoints, a leader should be open-minded to the value of employee input. While it feels like these tactics set the tone for “informed” and “balanced” conversations, these tactics can easily invalidate the experiences of others. We need to prepare youth (and people of all ages) to function and succeed in a diverse society and world. This is especially true when leaders come from marginalized groups themselves. They needed encouragement, permission, and advice before they could do the work of inclusive leadership. Critical Conversations About Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Forward-thinking organizations have already created forums to bring diverse employees together to share their experiences and deepest concerns and fears in the hope that coalitions of understanding and support will result from these interventions. What are the biggest barriers to your success and what role can I play in helping to remove them? Why we might sometimes choose not to speak up about diversity issues, and why sometimes it’s worth the effort. Do you feel safe enough to take risks at work? Where sitting in groups close together and having couragous conversations about diversity is no longer feasible. Tone is important â Stories, and the tone they set, are extremely important in having difficult and brave conversations. Here are three ways and an advanced glossary to get off the starting blocks and have bigger, deeper and bolder conversations about diversity and identity. But a few go a long way. Then pick yourself up, go out there again, and do better. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School. Since beginning courageous conversations in 2015, we have hosted dialogues ranging from small conversations within teams or employee networks, to enterprise conversations with community partners. This is especially true for the Inclusion part of D&I. Goals should include improving perspectives through activities, creating awareness by being open to difficult but informative stories that inform and shape leaders perspective of their employees and by choosing the hard path of having these difficult conversations. 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