Have you ever been worried you're using outdated words to describe people and groups? Are you concerned that it may impact your client and professional relationships? Perhaps even offend someone?
Language sends a strong message to our colleagues, especially given the current level of public calling out of people for using words that are perceived as offensive or dated.
Inclusive managers are encouraged not to make assumptions about language preferences across groups, even within your group.
What is inclusive language? Inclusive language is communication that avoids using words, expressions or assumptions that exclude people across gender, language, culture, religion, race, ability, family structure, marital status, sexuality, origin, class and/or organizational classification.
Why do we use inclusive language?
Being intentional with our words conveys a genuine effort to truly see and honor people in a way that is most appropriate for them. It is an attempt to address the...
Growth happens in small doses. Does this sound familiar: It’s the fourth quarter and you’ve been working long days and weekends to complete performance evaluations for all of your direct reports. You are trying to capture—heck, sometimes even remember—all of the high (and low) points of the year. The expectation is that you document your employees’ achievements and areas for improvement for delivery during a “performance meeting”.
You come to the meeting nervous about how each person will handle the input; whether you’ve described it in ways that lead to learning.
Your employees, on the other hand, come to the same meeting often feeling disempowered or vulnerable. They may even express confusion or frustration with some of your comments, citing your own limited understanding or access to their work. Each person leaves the meeting feeling thankful that it’s over. The appropriate paperwork is submitted to HR. And we begin again,...
I spent the past few days in Aspen with my son, Shiloh, and some family friends. When the idea for a family ski trip with some of our closest friends was suggested I was immediately all in. I’m a skier. I grew up in Colorado and spent much of my young life in the Rocky Mountains. I remember college days when, as a student advisor, I would drive oversized University-owned vans with 11 other students to mountain retreats.
I drove through those mountain passes without a care in the world. Later, as an early career professional, I would take off the occasional Wednesday or Thursday to avoid weekend travelers driving through the Eisenhower Tunnel and up the snowy and windy mountain pass. These days were always so calming. It was me communing with nature, filled with awe by the grandness of the peaks around me. I would spend an entire day skiing alone, happy in the solitude. Since moving away in my early 20s, I go back to Colorado every year to ski. And now Shiloh, 11, has become an...
Last week in a coaching call for our signature program, the Inclusive Manager’s Toolkit, one of the participants asked me to define diversity, inclusion, and equity. Until then, I had been rattling along assuming that we were all on the same page. After sharing some definitions, several other participants thanked me for the definitions and asked me to write them up. I realized that maybe more of us could benefit from definitions of these commonly used terms. So, below are my definitions. You or your organization (or Wikipedia) may define them differently. I hope these are helpful, though, to get you thinking about how you define these terms, how you see them in action in your workplace, and how you can continue to invest in your ongoing learning.
Diversity is the variety of ways in which people are described at individual levels and as affiliated with socially identifiable groups. There is diversity across groups, and often even more diversity within socially...
Does change have you down? Change is heavy on my mind lately. Everyone, everywhere I go, is wrestling with how to manage yet another change. The toughest part for most folks is the complaints. In the video I describe the Big Four complaints that I hear about most often:
Are these issues familiar to you? If so, you're not alone. They're common areas of concern. The tricky part is that they aren't about change.
They're about process.
Actually, these issues reflect a lack of process sophistication that, if it were present, would totally transform not just your organization's ability to manage change but would lead to: increased engagement, higher...
“To what extent are we willing to push people into, what I like to think of as productive discomfort, in this work? Are you we going to water things down so we can, at least, get people to the table? Are we just going to call it equity and put it off to the side? Or are we going to dig in and say no, decolonization, white supremacy, oppression? Where are we going to fall on that as a group? And if it means that some folks say hey, I'm out that's not for me, maybe we take that chance... some folks said when they first entered into this work they thought that the equity conversation was supposed to be a side conversation, it wasn't supposed to be a center conversation...but I think for me, I would not continue to be a part of this conversation if equity weren't a central part of the conversation.” - April Hathcock, virtual group debrief, May 21, 2019
To read more about April’s reaction to the meeting read her blog post
Expectations of leaders...
Often the most ardent spokespeople for valuing diversity and creating equity in our systems also possess a determination that is rooted in wanting to help “those disenfranchised people”, or “that marginalized group.” The assumption is that “those ____ people” (fill in the blank: Black, Asian, Gay, differently-abled, etc.) need “our” help.
With all of the best intentions, this perspective—and often the associated “advocacy”—is not the real work of allies, even though it may make us feel like we are.
Think about the last time you were in a meeting and witnessed a person’s contributions being overlooked by those in power at the table. Or listened on as colleagues belittled a colleague who is different from you and them. Or saw a social media post from one of your “friends” that was clearly meant to put down members of another group or with different life experiences.
Then you, because the comments or...
“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference”
-Elie Wiesel, writer, professor, political activist, Holocaust survivor
I often tell people, “If you want to influence people to do something for you, you have to start by having a clear ask.” Well, I want white people to stand up, en masse, and end racism. I know it’s a bit of audacious of me, but hell, being called audacious is the least of my concerns right now.
I, as a black woman, have been working my tail off for years to end racism and every other form of oppression. I won’t stop doing my work, but let’s keep it real. I can’t end racism.
I need white people, people with white privilege, to exercise that privilege—in the service of ending racism. Now is the time to stand up, take a deep breath, anchor to your values, push through the fear, and find the courage to dismantle the system of racism that benefits you and greatly oppresses the rest of us.
So, what is race?