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Declaring Our Workplace Independence (4 of 5) | The Diverse Definitions of Diversity

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Now, you may think that the two situations of a forced change in my hairstyles and changes in the workplace are not equal in terms of intensity or impact, but for some people ANY type of change is hard. And for some people, facing THESE anticipated changes in the workforce will be VERY hard. Which is why the ability to embrace change really relies on the relationships, the networks, and the support systems that we cultivate in the workplace. In the workplace, it's crucial for us to see each other in terms of members of the human race that happen to be running for the same corporate team.

Consider why inclusivity and belonging are trending. When you think about the fact that this year, the U.S. Surgeon General published an 82-page report on loneliness and isolation as being as deadly as smoking, his findings suggest that we are facing another societal epidemic. How much more for those in the workforce who feel invisible, or sidelined, or marginalized? Inclusivity and belonging are top of mind for those entering the workforce, or changing jobs, when considering which company’s corporate values will best align with their personal values.

Now, more than ever, blazing the trail for changes the workforce in ways that actively embrace neurodiversity, gender diversity, ethnic diversity, stages of life, and those with various disabilities will be crucial for our very survival as members of society who happen to be members of the workforce.

This Independence Day, as we gather to enjoy cookouts with family and friends before watching fireworks to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 to signify the birth of American independence, lets also take the time to reflect on the opportunity to declare our independence from assumptions, interpretations, and limiting beliefs that we place on each other in the workplace.

Let’s declare our independence from holding on to a fixed mindset that says leadership looks like this (white males in their 30s, 40s and 50s), to embracing a growth mindset that says leadership can also look like this (people of color with diverse backgrounds and experiences which may include neurodiversity, gender diversity, and various disabilities that lend a more well-rounded world-view to decision making.).

Let’s declare our independence from believing that continuing the dialogue around diversity, inclusion & belonging will get even harder, to realizing that it will continue to be more complex. Then, let’s lean in.

Lean into complex conversations that will remind us of the need to manage the intent of our words and actions with the impacts our words and actions have on others. And let’s be mindful of the need to extend grace to ourselves and others when intentions and impacts are misaligned. How often has this been the case for you, whether your intentions didn’t quite align with the impacts on someone else, or whether you were impacted by an action that left you questioning the original intent?

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