The Link Between Diversity and Inclusion to Empowerment
What does Diversity and Inclusion look like now? Drilling it to the highest level! We are each unique. Why is Diversity and Inclusion crucial to success today?
This is the sixth blog in a series of blogs on Empowerment.
You Cannot Develop an Empowered Culture Without Trust: You cannot arrive at trust unless you are meeting human needs of respect and purpose. All human beings want to be respected and valued for their individual uniqueness, and they want to know they add value, that they matter. All humans need to trust and be trusted. If these needs are not met, you cannot develop an empowered culture. What does this have to do with diversity and inclusion?
Respecting and valuing people for their individual uniqueness is crucial to nurturing trust. Having a work force or group of people made up of diverse people does not in itself mean you are “valuing your diverse people.” You just have diversity. “Inclusion” is the operative word.
For sure, “Having diversity without inclusion means nothing more than meeting compliance requisites. It is a false façade.”
The Most Diversity Oriented People in History: Diversity and Inclusion are more important than ever in history when it comes to engaging and retaining people, for any organization.
The two youngest generations, Gen Ys and Plurals, are referred to as the most ethnically and racially-oriented people in history. They have interreacted with the world nearly since birth via digital means, and have friends around the world via social media, most of whom they will never meet face-to-face. They have attended the most diverse school classrooms in history, streamed movies and programming where they interacted with and befriended people of all nationalities, including speaking diverse languages, from a very young age. (Learn more in the Training Module: 4 Generations @ Work…”)
These two youngest groups want to work and live in an environment with diversity and inclusion from all aspects. They want to see that all people are treated with dignity, respect, and equality. All people! They want to see that everyone has a voice and that everyone is included.
When the culture is not one that demands “zero tolerance for disrespect for people for any reason and holds everyone accountable for supporting behaviors, a hostile environment usually evolves. Trust and empowerment cannot evolve in such a culture.
What Does Diversity and Inclusion Mean?
Diversity used to be related to gender, age, race, ethnic group, religious beliefs, physical ability, and sexual orientation. Now you must drill it higher and say that diversity is treating ALL people with dignity and respect, and including everyone, without exception.
A definition everyone can understand goes something like this. “Diversity is when you are invited to a party. Inclusion is when you are asked to dance.” Diversity is when you are invited, and you arrive. Inclusion is the point where you are engaged, you feel you belong. “I am included.”
Now relate this to the workplace. Diversity is when you are hired. You are now a member of the team, and the organizational work force. Inclusion is when you feel you belong, when you feel you are a member of the team. Inclusion is the extent you feel welcome and an equal member of the team you are part of. Inclusion is the extent you feel engaged and can be the unique individual you are.
Inclusion is knowing you are valued and respected for your individual uniqueness. Inclusion is when you have a voice!
Drilling it Higher—The Platinum Rule: We must look at diversity and inclusion from a higher perspective if we are to succeed. We must consider the “Platinum rule: We must treat people as they wish to be treated as they may not wish to be treated as we do.”
Get to know people, develop relationships, and genuinely respect people for who they are without trying to change them into the clone of the ideal person WE THINK they should be.
“I am a Culture of One:” Let’s drill diversity to the highest level. I am a culture of one. There are as many cultures in the world as there are people. How we view the world and everything in it is determined by cognitive maps or elements of perception developed from the time we were born and continue changing and developing until the day we die. Everything in our lives alters and impacts how we perceive the world and react to it, including how we are raised, our birth order, religious beliefs, education, relationships, events in our lives, and everything else.
No two people have the same experiences or events. No two people have the same cognitive maps. No two people are alike. Every human being on the face of this earth is unique. Unique!
So, to try to place any group of people, for any reason, into a box separated by lines and expect everyone in that box to behave the same is a lie. It cannot be done.
Every human being, regardless of the color of skin, ethnic background, religious beliefs, or anything else, is unique.
Respecting and Valuing People for Their Individual Uniqueness is Crucial to Nurturing Trust and Empowerment. It is crucial to developing trust. An empowered, collaborative culture cannot evolve without trust. Trust must come first. And trust does not happen if human needs of respect and purpose are not met.
Zero Tolerance for Mistreatment of People: You will never leverage the strength of your diverse people if the culture is not one that holds everyone equally accountable to “zero tolerance for disrespect of people, anyone, even when holding people accountable.”
Teach all your people the behaviors that are related to trust and your culture.
The mere meaning of the word “empower” speaks to “freedom:” freedom to be oneself without fear of ridicule or being excluded because you may be different, freedom of self-expression, freedom to share freely, freedom to make decisions and act without fear of repercussion.
Freedom comes from the trust in knowing you are respected and valued for who you are. You are not afraid to simply be yourself.
In the absence of trust and the resulting freedom, there is fear. Fear freezes all that is good in your organization, including your ability to empower people.
Innovation and Creativity–Fruits of Empowerment: A culture of empowerment where people are free to think and make decisions on their own, naturally results in free flow of creative thoughts and innovation like nothing else. It frees the creative spirit of your people and your organization. Innovation and creativity are fruits of an empowered culture.
Without the freedom that comes from knowing “I am respected and valued for my uniqueness,” it is next to impossible to leverage the unique talents and experiences of your people. innovation and creativity are practically non-existent. Remember, fear freezes.
Without a doubt, it is imperative that your culture speaks to “respect and value” of all people. All people!
Training and Consultation Available to Help You Develop an Empowered Culture: This Empowerment blog series is not meant to be all inclusive on what is needed to create an Empowered Culture. Training is available either as self-paced online or live instructor led classes at your site. Follow this link for more information at Add link. Download the syllabus free. Live instructor led costs are negotiable based on many factors, including location. Reasonable and affordable rates. Curriculum is based on years of research and proven results achieved through teaching and using the tools.
About the Author:
With over 30 years’ experience developing and leading teams in corporate and non-profit environments, Patricia Hatley is a skilled team facilitator who has a passion for teaming and an empowering style of leadership. She is a leadership author and researcher, speaker, trainer and coach, focusing on developing an empowered culture which is crucial to engaging, and retaining younger generations (Gen Ys) and (Plurals or Gen Zs), in any environment and community. Her work focuses on developing a culture conducive to engaging and retaining all people. Her Goal is to “empower people to empower others.” She believes that all people have a right to be treated with respect, and that developing trust, is the foundation of success today.
She develops and delivers leadership and management training to business and industry, including serving as an Independent Contractor for community colleges. Her work focuses on methods that work today and in the future. A passionate and engaging speaker, she has spoken to groups and conducted training in multiple states about “5 Generations at Work: Attracting, Engaging, and Retaining Gen Ys and Plurals” for business, government, and non-profit organizations. Her methods and curriculum are proven to be successful in creating an empowered culture.
She has a Master’s of Science in Strategic Leadership (transformational & authentic leadership), a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, studied communications, and has been coached by numerous journalists, authors and educators, as well as completing many leadership programs. A former journalist, lobbyist, and public affairs specialist, she has served in a host of leadership roles spanning her career.
Currently a national SHRM and Catawba Valley SHRM member, Pat earned her SHRM Certified Professional certification in July 2017. Her curriculum, “5 Generations @ Work: Attracting, Engaging, and Retaining Them,” has been approved for recertification credits by HRCI and SHRM.
Her publications, based on over 10 years of research, including her graduate research project, include: “4 Generations @ Work: Leading from Conflict to Collaboration” (2012), “Three Things all People Want” (2013), Digital Grenades (2014), and “4 Generations @ Work: A Case of Empowerment” (2015). Training Module content is based on research and real-world applications and has been proven to be successful in developing empowered and trusting cultures.