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Diversity in Business

Bold Leadership Is Needed in These Turbulent Times

Deborah Tsai Munster

Executive Director, Diversity Best Practices

“Turbulent times calls for bold leadership and greater understanding.”

To kneel or to stand? Black lives or blue lives? Liberals or conservatives? Immigrants welcome or not? The current political divisiveness is palpable, and no longer separate from the workplace.

The intersection of politics, workplace and inclusion and diversity is unavoidable and employees are at the heart of it. While it may not seem to have a large impact on productivity, employees are preoccupied with the events gripping our nation and marketplace. They are concerned and hurting about issues like racism, exclusion, discrimination, well-being, safety and more.

Rise to the challenge

For some, concerns of safety and security are front of mind. Some wonder if their employers care. For others, the opposition of values and perspectives are being questioned. As leaders, we may be contemplating what role, if any, our organizations play. Do we have a responsibility to act or speak up? Are our corporate values at risk? Do we have an obligation to reinforce our diversity and inclusion vision?

Your organization and could be struggling with all, or some, of these issues. As leaders, Diversity Best Practices believes you do have a responsibility to address them. Just as you may adjust your strategy to address large-scale changes in the markets or industries you serve, leaders have an obligation to address issues that are impacting the greatest productivity assets — your employees.

Challenging times call for bold and courageous leadership. They call for leaders to take a hard look at what legacy they will leave behind as a result of these times. Will you be known for championing a cause? Rising and emerging leadership? Or will you be known for staying the course, riding out the storm?

Have constructive conversations

No matter what the legacy, consider providing a forum for your employees to have safe, honest discussions to address concerns and examine issues in a meaningful and constructive way. Some of the more relevant discussion topics at Diversity Best Practices include:  

  1. Employee value proposition/branding: “Does the external message/brand of our inclusive culture align with the reality and experience of ALL our employees.  How can we improve this?”
  2. Personal and professional impact: “How have the current events across the nation and globe impacted you? How has it impacted our work? How can we improve this?” 
  3. Managing differences: “How can we bridge our different perspectives? Are there common goals we can unite behind?”

While these conversations are not always easy, they are needed to bridge gaps, increase understanding and build a culture of inclusion. Turbulent times calls for bold leadership and greater understanding.

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