In my role as Board President for the Bay Area chapter of Conscious Capitalism, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion
Additionally, in my work with NextGen Orgs, it’s been a popular topic as well. We’re getting requests from companies who want to do a one-off training to promote DEI. But that’s not how DEI works. One unconscious bias training isn’t enough to change the culture of an organization.
Instead, diversity, equity, inclusion
Here’s how to integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and leadership:
- Uncover unconscious bias. This has to be the first step. Besides, you can’t change anything about yourself if you’re not aware of it. Everyone in the organization needs to undergo training to shine the light on implicit bias. It needs to be personal. People need to be able to identify where their biases are. Only then can they work to minimize or eradicate them. Here’s a great place to start: https://implicit.harvard.edu.
- Develop emotional intelligence. The more emotionally intelligent someone is, the more they will integrate DEI into their leadership. Self-awareness is critical to understanding biases. Self-management is necessary to work through the inevitable triggers that occur when you’re doing this work. Social awareness will help you discern whether everyone feels psychologically safe in the workplace. In addition, relationship management will help you to actively develop a sense of true belonging. In an environment where diversity, equity, inclusion and leadership are present, a sense of belonging emerges.
- Remove biases and biased language in your hiring process and reporting. Gendered language is everywhere. Moreover, job descriptions, training manuals, onboarding documents, and reports can all be gender-neutral. I recently facilitated a DiSC training for a team. Wiley is the company that developed DiSC, and their reports use “he/she” throughout. Nonetheless, this team has a member whose preferred pronouns are they/their. It’s not inclusive to use gendered language, and there’s no need for it. As a result, we have asked Wiley to change the pronouns used in their reports.
- Decolonize standards of
normin the workplace. This is the big one, and it’s the missing link to creating truly inclusive workplaces. Unfortunately, a culture of white supremacy is rooted in the normal standards of most organizations. We don’t even think twice about these standards, because that’s one of the things that keep the system in place: we’re encouraged not to look at them. You have to first understand what dominant culture norms are,and then adopt the positive opposite. I’ll give just one example of a symptom of dominant (white) culture: power hoarding. Power hoarding is the false narrative that personal power is a finite resource. Decolonizing power hoarding requires a paradigm shift in your understanding of power. Not to mention, it means a shift from power-over to power-with. You can find more on that here.
If developing DEI initiatives as separate from leadership development was going to work, it would have worked by now. It’s time to find a better way. Ask us how we can help.
Johanna Lyman is the Founder and CEO of NextGen Orgs.
She is a Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach with over fifteen years of experience in implementing organization wide change strategies for both Fortune 500 companies and Small Businesses.
At NextGen Orgs, they use a combination of unique delivery methods and processes that crack the code on establishing lasting organizational behavior changes in a relatively short period of time. In addition, their proprietary and evolutionary system can eliminate months of frustration often associated with developing strong leadership and building a cohesive, collaborative team.