Today's Challenge: Stick Up For A Colleague
We all have differing personalities, which means that some are more apt to speak up in large groups of people or volunteer themselves to perform certain tasks, while others take a backseat because the thought of sharing their idea makes them sweat through their shirt. As each individual works to grow in their roles we, as colleagues or bosses, need to ensure that we are allowing their voices to be heard.
I often take an approach that your typical introvert would cringe at: If I see that we are only hearing from one or two people in the room, I ask pointed questions to other individuals to gain their perspective. I believe that it isn't a group discussion if are only hearing a portion of the voices. I often find that those one or two individuals are typically extroverts, so when I pay attention to the cues that someone might have another idea (i.e. open their mouth to say something, raise their hand quickly, shake their head, etc.), I make sure they get the floor.
I have been speaking a lot lately about the struggles that women face in the workplace. I've found throughout my research that people of color, at times, have even more struggles. I physically see people speak over them, completely ignoring the point or idea that was just brought to the table. Their voices are allowed to be overrun because no one in the room stops them. When we continue to push people of color away by not including them or listening to their ideas, then all we are accomplishing is the fulfillment of a diversity quota and not using our talented resources to their fullest.
Today I challenge you to stand up for another colleague. If you are sitting in a meeting and you find that someone's voice is getting trampled on by another employee, interject and say, "Excuse me, this person was speaking first and I would like to hear what they have to say." We need to start learning to stick up for another. If we want our company to be the best, then we need to have the best ideas - but we need to hear all ideas in order to make that assessment. Diversity & Inclusion doesn't work if our diverse colleagues don't feel a sense of belonging. So let's do more than just fulfill a quota, let's include them in the discussions. You might be surprised where they can take you!
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