For those of you The Office buffs out there you may remember the episode where Michael Scott, the boss, tries to organize a pseudo-Diversity and Inclusion day. He is horribly offensive and he ends up creating a way worse culture in the office. If you’re not a fan of Steve Carell comedy, we all know someone who has tried to help but seriously put their foot in their mouth and made the whole situation worse. This is a major fear on how conversations about Diversity and Inclusion can go. As a leader in your company, there is pressure to not make a mistake and that can make having these difficult conversations extra hard. However, you must take your platform and use it for good. This list will help you feel more confident and ready to create a more diverse and inclusive environment.
Start talking. There is no more important step than pledging to step up and start the difficult conversations. If you feel that you would personally benefit from diversity and inclusion, talk about it from a personal level. If it is something you are committed to but maybe wouldn’t see personal benefits (aside from helping others and seeing great business improvements), talk about the economic, social, and community benefits. Keep doing your research to ensure that you have a well informed discussion and that you really know and understand what you’re talking about.
Read up about it. This is a great start! Reading blogs is important but I also encourage you to check out the following sources: Forbes, the government, the scholars and Forbes again. These resources, at varying levels of readability, will offer you insight into different ideas, practices, and outcomes of a diverse and inclusive work space. As the team leader or boss, it is important that you are informed.
Ask what they think. As the great leader that you are, you know the importance of your team members. Giving them a say in the conversation will allow you to understand and know about more varied circumstance and experience, which go along with the very idea of Diversity and Inclusion. It will also allow you to understand why someone feels differently than you and you may be able to better relate once understanding their point of view.
Tell them, with your authority, that this is something you are committed to and they should be as well. You’re the boss. At the end of the day, the decision is yours. It helps to have a fully committed team that is working tirelessly to accomplish the goals of Diversity and Inclusion you have set forth. But, this isn’t an idyllic world. Your team may not be inspired to help just because they feel it is right. It is up to you, to take charge and require an atmosphere that encourages diversity and inclusion.
Back it up with proof. Talk is cheap. And you’re good at your job, so you want to make money. Backup all that talk with solid proof. Work on your mentoring programs, your company atmosphere, who is hired, who is leaving the company and why they are leaving, and your promotion methods. All of these areas lie in the hands of leaders and bosses, luckily you are one, so you can work hard to eradicate the exclusionary tendencies our workplace culture.
Call in the experts. If you’re finding it challenging to do any of these things, that is okay! That is why we have companies-- like The Mentor Method, fully committed to diversity and inclusion. Contact us and we can help to straighten out any kinks in the system or find the best plan of action to create a more diverse environment.
Make today the first day of change. Create your action plan and get started. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help!