I am occasionally asked by organizational leaders, “What should I do?” in response to societal issues involving bias and racism. Questions like, “What should I say?” or “How can I help?” come from compassionate well-meaning leaders and colleagues who sincerely want to know what to do. Read more
Recently, I trained for a group of leaders on unconscious bias and inclusive leadership. As we were discussing the impact of exclusion in work environments, particularly the impact of microaggressions, a leader commented, “Sometimes, I don’t have the time to worry about how I say something to a team member. Sometimes, they are wrong, and their ideas aren’t very good. Sometimes people are too sensitive. Where does it end? I worry that everything I say can be construed as offensive or microaggressive. How far is too far with all of this sensitivity and inclusion stuff?” Read more
According to Derald Wing Sue, PhD, of Columbia University, “Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”
Organizations have learned that workforce diversity affords a competitive advantage when selling to diverse consumers. Businesses recognize that diversity in the workforce leads to more highly engaged teams and provides a better arena for innovation to occur. Companies also know that diversity alone isn’t the answer and that lasting workforce diversity doesn’t happen without creating environments where multiple cultures, ethnicities, genders, and abilities are welcomed, included, and respected.
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