<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=474710470599804&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

CMI Blog

the latest from cmi speaker managment

microaggressions

How to Attract Top Talent in 2022 by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Nov 29, 2021 | Comments Off

 

"Listening is actively listening, it’s seeking to understand" 

Video Transcription
After over 25,000 surveys and years of working with organizations to transform employee engagement, here's what we've seen over and over. When you know how to listen, employees will tell you exactly what they need to bring their full selves to work. When they feel seen, heard and valued, they will do whatever it takes to help the organization be successful.

You can’t reimagine a better workplace or move forward a new project unless you recognize what's not being said inside your culture. So, how do you feel when someone listens to you, and I mean really listens to you? When they take time out of their day to listen to your thoughts, your concerns and your ideas. It feels good to be heard, doesn't it?

When we feel heard, we feel understood, we feel valued. We feel validated. So, for the last several years, I have been on a mission to help organizations understand the impact of listening, and I mean really listening.

Some years ago, I worked at an organization where I led customer experience and I loved my job. Then one day, I got the news. They were going to be merging our company with four others. Now, I'm sure you could imagine what that brought up. Mistrust, anxiety and fear.

There was a lack of communication that was going on all around and no one knew what was going on. So, I had gone to the head of HR and I said, “You know what? We have got to do something about employee engagement, something about our culture. It's going downhill fast.”
And she said, “You know, you're right. You go do that.”

I’m like, “I'm in customer experience.” So, I took her up on it and I created an employee engagement council. Inviting people who were from the other companies who I thought might be open and receptive to being around the table - trying to get to the bottom of what would make this merger a success.

But, it needed everyone. And the leadership team? They looked outside. They didn't get it. They didn't get that there were people right there. Five companies. Ready and willing to give them all they needed to know to make this merger a success. But they didn't know how to listen.

So how do we do it? How do we get there? Well, there's a process. The first thing we have to do is recognize what's not being said. How do you do that? Well, you have to be kind of aware enough to say, I know there's something I don't know. And that's because probably people aren't safe enough or don't trust me enough to tell me what I should know. And, I know that because I don't know it. There's a blind spot. That's a problem.

So, I need to acknowledge that first, before I can even move on to listening. Listening is actively listening, it’s seeking to understand - it’s digging deep and removing my own ways, removing my filter to be able to step into your shoes and understand your filter. So, we’ve got to get there first and then we seek to understand and then we actually listen.

When we’re thinking about diversity, inclusion, belonging and we're thinking about the things we can influence and control - we can control this. We can control how we seek to understand and how empathetic we are and the compassion we exhibit for people in their shoes. And we can decide to be courageous, when it's necessary.

We all agreed earlier that when we hear people's stories, we learn, we get better and we grow. It’s the action behind the act of listening that makes our voices come to life, makes us realize we matter and that action is the same thing as compassion.

You can own a part in this process and you can use it to ensure that those that are in your presence feel listened to, feel valued, feel validated.

This is the future of work. When you invest in your people, they invest back into you. They will tell you everything you need to know to be successful and to get the outcomes you're looking for. Let's get to listening.

 

New call-to-action

How Leaders Can Identify Microaggressions at Work and Shut Them Down by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Nov 08, 2021 | Comments Off
560x316_CoverforBlog

"Ending Microaggressions Promotes Employee Retention" 

Creating a safe work environment is imperative if leaders want employees to stay with the organization, innovate, go above and beyond for the team, and exceed customer expectations. If employees don't feel safe, they will not feel loyal or committed to the team and seeing the organization succeed. Acknowledging microaggressions and protecting employees from attacks on who they are is a major move toward making the workplace safe for everyone.

Read Full Article (PDF) >

This article originally appeared in HR NEWS
https://www.ipma-hr.org/stay-informed/hr-news-issues/hr-news-issue/hr-news-october-2021 (members)

 

 

New call-to-action

Transforming America’s Workplaces: An Infertile Place for Microaggressions by Heather R. Younger

By Heather Younger | May 26, 2021 | Comments Off


Microaggressions

Have you ever witnessed or been the recipient of a microaggression? If you are unsure, the answer is probably yes. These small acts concealed by their habitual nature are dangerous for our culture and especially for our workplaces.

Microaggressions are the brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental dignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group (Younger 109).

I pulled this definition from my book, The Art of Caring Leadership, but it originates from Chester M. Pierce, MD, a Harvard psychiatrist in the 1970s. Microaggressions are based on assumptions that historically biased stereotypes have ingrained into our culture. They are extremely hurtful, whether by word or action, to the person from the marginalized group. 

Instead of spreading the message of inclusivity and belonging, microaggressions are like glaring flash signals that indicate there is space between two people (or groups). This space can be culturally, socioeconomically, racially, educationally; the list goes on. 

The Data

In a survey conducted by Gallup on microaggressions in 2020, 32% of Black adults responded that “people acted as if they were better than [them]” very often. Some examples of microaggressions:

  • A non-Black person asking to touch a Black person’s hair. 
  • Someone volunteering an Asian colleague to bring fried rice to a company picnic. 
  • When a Black person is articulate, a White person says, “Oh my gosh, you articulate so well!”
  • telling a thin person that they should eat more food
  • using outdated and offensive terminology, such as, “That’s so gay”

Some of these examples are from my book, others I found here. Actions such as these demonstrate presumptions about people from minority groups. For workplaces to function efficiently and while being inclusive and belonging, there can be no space for microaggressions. What does this mean for our workplaces comprised of people who are unaware of the harm they might be inflicting?

A Resolution

First of all, how many believe that ignorance means innocence? That’s an idea I am familiar with because of my faith. It holds some truth—you are not culpable for your mistake if you didn’t know it was wrong. However, ignorance does not preclude your personal improvement. Just because you are unaware of the harm you may have caused, it does not negate the wrongness of the action itself. You can only claim ignorance for a slip-up once; then, you should know better and must learn from it. 

Secondly, it does not fall upon the shoulders of the person or group of people you are offending to educate you. I would advise you not to seek out lessons on microaggressions from your peers who identify as a minority in some way. If they freely offer information on this topic, by all means, listen to their experiences. It is a great way to learn, but do not put the responsibility of resolving this issue on their shoulders. 

Lastly, we must transform our workplaces into Psychologically Safe Spaces where microaggressions desist as people learn to avoid discriminatory behaviors. Simultaneously, we must create a comfortable and safe way for employees to report bad behavior. 

A Psychologically Safe Space 

You can learn more about this in Chapter 7 of my book, which I mentioned above. I will provide you with a summary of steps to take to achieve this. 

  1. Earn their trust: seek to get to know your people on a deeper emotional level. Always be honest and transparent. Let them know they can rely on your word. 
  2. Encourage speaking the truth: invite people to share their experiences and feelings. Provide focus groups, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and forums. Also, go a level deeper and create a seamless, safe, and anonymous system for reporting incidents. 
  3. Show openness to hearing the hard things: This step goes hand in hand with accountability. If the organization is going to make mistakes (disclaimer-it will) then they must own up to those mistakes. Instill accountability at every level of the organization. The highest leadership tiers especially must be held accountable, so the rest of the organization sees what kinds of behaviors will and will not be tolerated hands down, no grey areas here. 
  4. Acknowledge when people speak up: This step is crucial. If you encourage people to share, you must recognize their willingness and helpfulness to come forward. Always connect the dots and communicate back to the person what actions the organization is taking in response. 
  5. Provide educational resources: Encourage your whole organization to educate themselves on these issues. Make it mandatory. Once the proper behavior has been learned, and resources to learn are available, I encourage you to no longer tolerate any microaggressions in your workplace. You will have a system to report them and a system to hold people accountable; use these to eradicate microaggressions. 

While my book details many more steps to aid you in fostering a psychologically safe space, I will not get into each one here. I encourage my readers to go forward seeking to lead with your hearts and engaging in inclusive, compassionate, caring, and empathetic behaviors. I look forward to creating more caring workplaces worldwide with your help! Join our Community of Caring Leaders here

 

 

New call-to-action

1

Archives