Compliments of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Employees with a stylistic variance evoke discomfort in companies where “different” is labeled “deficient.” Unfortunately, fix yourself may be the first response. YOU are the one who should be more direct, less sensitive, more assertive, less militant, a better more congruent version of other people, and an employee who behaves in a less “authentic” manner.

Inclusive leaders can pivot their strategy. If they see a person not saying anything they should ask themselves why. Are they holding back because they have nothing to say, or do they say nothing because they know that speaking exceeds the benefits? For people who have suffered mental/verbal/emotional abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, bullying, or who were raised in a high power distance culture where speech typically occurs upon invitation, a ready fire aim method of interaction is off-putting. Piling into a fray is something they may feel reluctant to do.

In firms where diversity is little more than a checkbox, managers display exasperation. “You didn’t say much.”

Inclusive leaders try to enfold that person into community:

Dahlia, I know that you’ve done a lot of work with our partners. Can you share some of your success stories with us?

Everyone will know that Dahlia is both a valued team member, and that she has something of value to say. In “I Didn’t Know How Good Men had it until I was a Man” Thomas Page McBee describes how, as a man, he was given the benefit of the doubt, “I am asked for my opinion near-daily internally and externally, on matters far beyond the realm of my actual job. All of this positive feedback has helped me to become my best, most productive, most creative, most innovative self.” Because he now understands how the system works, he lobbies for raises on behalf of his female employees, and he makes it a point to ask everyone for input.

How managers treat their workers becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If leaders redirect people who out talk their peers then everyone can have their day in the sun.

A rigid mind set can foster one-size-fits-all product, and inappropriate slogans that imply superiority. The Houston Association of Realtors stated that it will no longer use the term “master bedroom” in its listings. Similarly, L’Oréal will remove descriptors like “whitening” and “fair” from its makeup product lines. Inclusion is not just the moral high ground but a compelling business argument as well. By 2050, the United States will have shifted to a majority non-white nation. Company winners will be ones where workers across the board are treated as if they are important. Conversely, nonchalant firms may suffer the consequences. In June 2020 Adidas HR chief Karen Parkin resigned—due to allegations that Adidas did not proactively diversify its workforce and that it failed to engage in community outreach.

Brené Brown suggested that we re-imagine and rebuild loveless systems. Radical change to promote inclusion is thus a mandate. Leaders within community can act as change agents to reveal a more loving set of values.




Share |

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

Comments are moderated.

Comments are closed.