We heed Inclusion by improving how we behave towards each other. This month, we focus in particular on the Use of Language, the 7th of our 8 Inclusive Behaviours(SM).
When it comes to the Use of Language for leaders, we believe that leaders who are not yet in the habit of utilising terminology that reflects Inclusion run the risk of getting stuck in the past. To help ensure that doesn’t happen, we offer you 5 terms that should become part of your vocabulary toolkit in the workplace.
1. The Diversity Bonus
Many people believe that there is a trade-off between diversity and excellence. Page argues that is not the case. Diverse teams bring excellence. Diversity isn’t just about being fair and equal; it isn’t just the right thing to do; Diversity is an actual asset that gives your team a competitive edge over others.
As leaders, using the Diversity Bonus both as a team and as a way of thinking will bring Inclusion to life and make it easier to embed any existing D&I ambitions.
In fact, according to Dr Tara J. Yosso, there are 6 other forms of capital that people from underrepresented groups stand out for. Those looking for emerging leaders amidst their teams should be adding these additional forms of capital to their list of requisite leadership skills.
When people know they don’t have to fear humiliation or retribution, they are more likely to speak up even if their view might be unpopular. They are more likely to share an idea, even if it seems a bit weird or impossible, and they are more likely to do something in a different way, even if it’s not how it has always been done.
A team in which members contribute in this fashion all the time is a psychologically safe team. Leaders need to learn what they need to do in order for team members to feel valued, respected and psychologically safe.
A safe space at work is an environment that creates a feeling of freedom to openly express concerns and deep thoughts, and find a sense of acceptance and understanding. People are in a safe space when they know that this form of self-expression and exposure will not jeopardise their respect or worth.
During the pandemic we have seen that those who were offered a safe space to share their vulnerabilities were able to build a stronger bond with their teams.
Safe spaces do not always involve the leader being there; sometimes it is necessary to involve a person from outside the team to create that safety. It’s up to leaders to ensure team members have these spaces, to allow our diverse teams to share and bond.
When we talk about the Diversity Bonus and Resistant Capital, we start conversations that show the value of diversity. When we then talk about Culture Add, we help attract that diversity of thought. When we then learn to create psychological safety in our teams and provide safe spaces for difficult conversations, we truly bring out the best in our people. For this reason, leaders who are D&I-minded ought to make these terms part of their routine business vocabulary.