This moment in our working lives is a challenge and a gift. I’m encouraging my team to think of it like an extended bootcamp—a chance to strengthen our leadership skills, exercise our emotional intelligence, and hone our empathetic side. Although it may not look like it, this work-from-home environment is an opportunity for promoting diversity and inclusion.
Take time to listen and empathize
The regional executive team I sit on at Wood Mackenzie recently met with the leaders of all the company’s “Thrive” groups. These are initiatives designed to bring folks together to address matters like the gender pay gap, better understanding LGBTQ+ experiences, hiring and retaining diverse talent, empowering working parents, and nurturing a culture of inclusivity. The goal was to talk about promoting diversity and inclusion during this stressful time.
What can we do better? How can we support one another?
The response was moving. One of the issues discussed was paying attention to our empathy for working parents. As they continue to take on more, what could we do to show our support without letting gender bias creep in? What was remarkable is that the issue was raised by someone who doesn’t have children but was sharing concern for their coworkers.
Practice introspection and lead with service
This sort of mindset—thinking about the future and calling out potential road blocks or bumps along the way—allows us to shift in the right direction together. As we navigate things known and unknown, it’s critical to lead with our core values and adopt a servant-leadership perspective. We can remain committed to an inclusive work culture from any desk, and there are three ways to accomplish that with a little introspection.
1. Stay committed to an inclusive work culture.
Small, thoughtful actions can make a big difference. For instance, collect input for virtual meetings in advance, create opportunities for others to participate and elevate unheard voices.
2. Have the courage to hold yourself accountable.
Take some time to learn how something like gender bias may show up in the workplace. Show empathy to working parents by checking in with them and offering support. Be patient and extend grace when little ones interrupt a video meeting.
3. Be curious.
Get involved in your company’s DEI group or participate in activities. There are great virtual events are going on right now. It’s the perfect time to get engaged. Let’s push ourselves to learn more, to peek outside our comfort zone (or jump right out, if that’s your style). I just joined a Pride book club led by an amazing colleague, and we’re reading Stonewall by Martin Duberman.
Every one of us is persevering in our own way. Diversity and inclusion are not impossible to achieve from home. Follow some voices you may not have heard before. Then, amplify those voices. Show support to a colleague who’ is struggling. Join a group that connects you to people outside your team, or brings folks together around a common concern. As we move into the second half of this year, we can be promoting diversity and inclusion by listening to one another, staying connected, and using our virtual tools to reach even further.Recommended1 recommendationPublished in