2. ARE LEADERS FULLY ENGAGED IN DIVERSITY
Showing support through allocating money for D&I is
a great start, but inclusive leadership starts when leaders
are courageous enough to be visible champions. Leaders who engage in the often-uncomfortable conversations
that arise around diversity and inclusion, and share their
own learning journey will inspire others to do the same.
This can be a long, non-linear process that requires
a great deal of inner searching, self-reflection, honesty,
and open communication. In order for D&I efforts to
work, they must be supported from the very top of an
organization. Leaders have to be willing to go beyond
talking points and invest in leading from both the head
and the heart to begin creating an inclusive workplace.
3. ARE TIME AND RESOURCES BEING
Genuine change cannot be achieved in a matter of
hours. It requires a sustained approach, and a dedication
to ongoing conversations and personal growth. Companies that have continued to rely on “training” programs
that focus on giving people data and telling them what
to think and how to act have experienced little if any
cultural change and find themselves stuck in outdated,
unproductive patterns of behavior.
However, those that have addressed diversity and inclusion as a system-wide, developmental effort are now
seeing employees who are willing to bring their best
selves to their work and who contribute to efficiency
The difference is in the experience: leading from the
heart, one learns to manage difficult conversations; self-reflection and vulnerabily are encouraged; and empathetic breakthroughs regularly occur. An experiential
approach inspires leaders to develop their own and others’ competency around diversity and inclusion, which
leads to meaningful and lasting change in the workplace. They emerge with the curiosity to ask questions,
the courage to act without having all the answers, and
the confidence they can make a difference.
4. DOES YOUR APPROACH TO DIVERSIT Y ENGAGE
BOTH THE HEAD AND THE HEART?
In the workplace many of us are hesitant to allow
ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable. But when it
comes to creating an inclusive environment where eve-
ryone can thrive, we must be willing to engage on an
emotional level with others, and to be honest about our
Approaching diversity from an emotional standpoint
provides a plethora of benefits. For one, giving em-
ployees the space and permission to open themselves
up emotionally gives diversity efforts the extra power
they need to create real and lasting change within your
organization. Those that engage emotionally in the pro-
cess also report improved mental health and positive
changes in their interpersonal relationships as well.
The ability to go deeper and reveal our emotional
truths with each other creates the safety that allows diverse perspectives and experiences to be present and
have influence in workplace culture.
The first step in improving diversity in the workplace
is recognizing that there is an opportunity to be more
inclusive. We must all look for the big and small ways
we can improve our D&I initiatives. They’ll emerge
with the curiosity to ask questions, the courage to act
without having all the answers, and the confidence they
can make a difference. By being open to the process and
making ourselves vulnerable, we can all become champions of diversity and create a more fair and equitable
workplace and world.
Bill Proudman is the CEO & Co-Founder of White Men as
Full Diversity Partners, a consulting firm that provides
organizations and business leaders with the skills they
need to establish inclusive work cultures.
THE ABILITY TO GO DEEPER
AND REVEAL OUR EMOTIONAL
TRUTHS WITH EACH OTHER CREATES THE SAFETY THAT ALLOWS
DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES AND
EXPERIENCES TO BE PRESENT
AND HAVE INFLUENCE IN