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Emotional Wellness

The State of DEI: Six Questions Every Leadership Team Needs to Answer

By DE&I, Diversity, Emotional Wellness, Leadership, Workplace Culture

 

Recently, a Workday study on the state of DEI came out. In this study, they surveyed over 3000 HR and business leaders from 23 countries. Here were a few of the top line bullets the survey data revealed:

The top four key reasons that make up the business case for DE&I are:

  • Improve staff wellbeing – 41%
  • Attract and develop talent – 40%
  • Attract and recruit a diverse workforce – 38%
  • Improve employee engagement – 38%

The DEI initiatives most commonly undertaken are:

  • Positive action: to encourage diverse applicants – 36%
  • DEI training – 36%
  • Positive action: to support development and promotion – 36%

I hope that somewhere in this data one of the areas of focus is not only retaining and attracting talent in a diverse workforce, but also creating a culture of belonging and inclusion where people are treated equitably.

I hear the word “culture” referred to less today than in the past, but it’s the engine that helps to sustain positive resultseven when it comes to DEI&B. And therein lies the opportunity and the challenge. Culture sustains DEI&B and DEI&B is one of the elements that spark the development of a healthy culture. If you’re not sure what to talk about in your next leadership team meeting, try out these six questions:

  • How would you define the culture in your organization?  
  • Is it conducive to creating a sense of belonging and the kind of attentiveness that lets everyone feel seen and heard? 
  • Who’s out and who’s in, and how does that dynamic impact results?
  • What is the organization doing to have the outsiders feel valued and appreciated because they are outsiders?
  • Do the outsiders stay or leave?
  • If they stay, are they able to be themselves or did they have to shape-shift to fit in?

How are you doing in terms of creating a culture of belonging and inclusion in your workplace? Please reach out to me—I would love to hear about your challenges and successes!

Moral Outrage and the Algorithm – Two Small (But Mighty) Steps

By Education, Emotional Wellness, Leadership, Men's work, Uncategorized

In the first article of this blog series, I talked about how some families in my hometown of Bend, Oregon are “quiet quitting” public schools in favor of homeschooling. There are several reasons behind this. One is that some parents don’t want their children to have to learn about enslavement, social justice, civil rights, or the history of discrimination in the United Statesnot because they are making a conscious choice—but because they have read/heard quotes about Critical Race Theory and its supposed negative impacts on children.

The second article in this series turned out to be about a tragic event that also happened in Bend when a young man went into a Safeway store armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun and killed three people before taking his own life. The thing I focused on from the story was the now predictable profile of who the shooter was: a young, isolated, depressed, and angry white man. 

I’ve used up, if not exceeded, my time talking about the problems. Here are two things I’m going to do in terms of trying to make things better; join me if they make sense to you:

1. We have got to learn to deal more constructively with our moral outrage. And what exactly is moral outrage? It’s the strong emotions we feel when we experience or see an injustice that we then convert into a moral judgment in a nano-second. When we feel it, we often resort to shaming or attacking the wrongdoers.  

Though I can’t prove it, I think it’s highly likely that many quiet quitting school families are keeping their opinions to themselves, so they don’t have to suffer through the judgments and moral outrage of their neighbors. We don’t know the motivations of the Safeway shooter, but his social media posts and reports from people that knew him suggest he felt isolated and unable or unwilling to express his feelings out loud. 

In my own extended family, I notice how one group of relatives whom I know feel differently about a number of societal issues than I do rarely allow our conversations during visits to stray into current events, politics, or personal beliefs. They’ve also witnessed my hyper-verbosity and intensity when I unbridle my moral outrage. That preview alone would probably be enough to keep them from ever wanting to engage with me on topics which we disagree about. 

For me, the solution is to remember that relationships and connection with other people is one of my primary espoused values, and allowing my moral outrage to take control is counter to those values. Also, if I tell myself the truth, my moral outrage is harmful to other people; there is nothing constructive about shame or guilt. I can’t let myself go there, no matter what the injustice or wrong is.

2. Less is more: I need to pay attention to how and when I use social media. Of course, this is a huge topic, but in this context all I’m talking about is what I need to do to build better partnerships with people who see the world differently than me. The way I use social media—including how I express my own moral outrage on occasion—also does a lot more harm than good. The anonymity of digital communication can enable us to behave pretty badly towards one another if we’re not mindful of it. 

I’ve been reading The Chaos Machine – The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World by Max Fisher. Fisher talks about the physiological response most of us have to social media posts that prompt different feelings, including moral outrage, and the data is not good. There is a lot of creepy stuff that social media companies do to keep us engaged—and it’s engagement that is the key to them making money on us—but we can’t blame them for creating the algorithms that hook us; it’s still our choice. 

Since reading the book and noticing my own unconscious response to different stimuli on social media, I now catch myself before writing and sending snarky responses to complete strangers. I also notice that most of the snarkiness comes from other white men, and Fisher’s research also confirms this.

I’m noticing social media is an accelerant for creating and maintaining polar differences between us. It’s hard for me to even find or get access to groups whose members see the world in a different way than I do. The algorithms I experience on Facebook and Google are almost impossible for me to break out of. It’s not hard to see why those politicians who take pleasure in fomenting the polarization are also heavy social media users.

The world’s got big problems, and these are but two small (but mighty) behavior changes. Still, imagine what would happen if all of us actually committed to making them.

Note: Along with these ideas, there are some additional tools and tips that you can try. These are described in my new book, Gaslights and Dog Whistles: Standing Up for Facts Over Fiction in a Fearful and Divided World