Let’s face it. There will never be a “right” time, or even a “right” way, to make changes or devote time to promoting and developing more inclusion in the workplace. The excuses are many and, at first glance, quite solid.
“I’m burnt out! I don’t have the enthusiasm for it.” “I’m doing more with less at work as it is!”
“Who has time?”
“There’s nothing in it for me.”
Diversity issues impose themselves on your already overworked life, and you’re now expected to learn more about interculturalism. When will it all end? Predictably, you want to throw up your hands in dismay and give up because you can’t know everything there is to know and do everything that needs to be done.
It’s okay to be imperfect.
So, what do you do when you see a heaping helping of human interaction issues being added to your already full plate of workday tasks? One suggestion is to look at all the other helpings on the plate and see the inclusion component already in each portion. This isn’t about adding to your plate; rather, it’s about the methods to help you tackle what’s on your plate. This realization might resolve some of that sense of being overwhelmed.
Feeling defensive and acting defiant when confronted with diversity challenges merely sets up win / lose situations. If you resent diversity and inclusion efforts, you will unnecessarily add to your frustration, since you’ll be fighting battles that don’t need to be fought. When frustrated, you can easily marginalize others. Instead, put that energy to use in more productive ways. It will take a lot less effort simply to be open to learning about the diversity of others. In fact, taken in the proper context, the learning can be both beneficial and enjoyable.
No one knows everything regarding diversity and inclusion. But now you know enough to make a difference in yourself and where you work. The task becomes less overwhelming if you keep in mind some simple ideas:
- Each of us can accept the personal responsibility to learn more. The most important work that can occur around diversity and inclusion work is that of personal responsibility and education.
- Pointing fingers at others will get us nowhere. Assigning blame only arouses anger and defensive behaviors in others.
- The only change we can really control is the change we decide to make in ourselves. This change will most often occur through educational experiences and by becoming involved with uncomfortable situations where we are learning new information.
This blog was adapted from Principal Amy S. Tolbert’s updated book Reversing the Ostrich Approach to Diversity: Pulling Your Head out of the Sand: Five Simple Concepts You Can Use Now to Reap Bottom-Line Results by Honoring Diversity available on Amazon today!
Tolbert, A. S., et al. Reversing the Ostrich Approach to Diversity: Pulling Your Head out of the Sand: Five Simple Concepts You Can Use Now to Reap Bottom-Line Results by Honoring Diversity. Amazon, Kindle Edition, 2019.