I love it when I hear or read something from a credible source that I have thought or said! My approach to helping leaders create inclusive workplaces starts with increasing their awareness and understanding of difference. For example, I teach how and why Millennials are less independent than members of Gen X and how and why masculine and feminine communication styles are different. When you understand someone’s perspective that is different from your own, you have choices. Rather than the automatic response (likely judgment or irritation), you can stop and recognize that the behavior or perspective reflects an understandable difference. Then you can look for strengths in this different approach and ways to leverage it.
In a recent article, “Are We Unconsciously Undermining Our Diversity Commitment,” published in The Legal Intelligence, Stacy Hawkins reviews the research showing that the “first way” to control “implicit or unconscious biases is by raising them to a conscious level.” She notes that “acknowledging and confronting unconscious biases allows us to reconcile them with our conscious values and alter our beliefs and behavior accordingly.”
Yes! Conscious awareness and understanding of difference can disperse judgment just like light dispels darkness. Understanding makes it possible to choose actions and behaviors that are inclusive. And that drives engagement, retention and results.
Can you think of a time when you judged or disliked someone who thought or behaved differently than you–and then got to know them? Once you understood what made them think and behave as they, did your reaction change?