Saturday, January 28

How would you train employees on diversity and inclusion?

As a parent I can hear myself repeating the following to my teenager: 

“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realisation that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” – Denis Waitley (author and coach)

The creators of diversity and inclusion training know this well. If the learning and growth imparted during training is to survive in the real world, it is imperative that students grasp the fact that they will be accountable and responsible for using what they have learned effectively. They will also be the ones who create the difference in the workplace, without having an expectation that others will be the deciding factor. 

You are in charge of you

Most organisations these days embrace the best practice of shifting the ownership for growth and development to the shoulders of their employees guided by leaders and managers. The organisation’s role is to facilitate, enable and empower through creating the right conditions in which employees can flourish. Ultimately, however, each person not only makes choices to allow their careers to flourish but also to ensure relationships and interactions within the workplace are optimal. 

During executive leadership training, online issues of roles, responsibilities, and accountability are debated for these very reasons. There is nothing wrong with setting strategic goals and objectives and demanding employees and teams work towards them. However, beyond framing the vision, broad key plans, and milestones it is never feasible or clever to try to maintain control of every aspect of progression and delivery. We can try to influence, encourage and motivate. We can remove obstacles and be proactive in facilitating change. Trying to force people to embrace diversity, inclusion and equality simply will not work. Micromanaging, creating fear, and insisting on compliance only serves to undermine people’s desire to master themselves and their environment.

Misdirected responsibility for securing the outcomes linked to diversity and inclusion training invariably has the reverse effect. People become less interested, avoid issues, find fault, blame others, and generally do not take the initiative. Come up with one excuse after another as to why a turnaround is not possible. Whether we do diversity and inclusion training or elsewhere the message needs to be consistent. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” as purported to have been said by Gandhi. 

Diversity and inclusion training starts with you

The turnaround in attitude that executive leadership training online focuses on in support of the diversity and inclusion agenda is getting people to see there is little value in judging others. It is much more constructive and beneficial to see the worth of focusing on changing oneself first. Growing and developing ourselves without the expectation that others will necessarily follow suit at the pace we expect or demand. Correctly placed accountability and responsibility for diversity and inclusion generates a culture where everyone becomes jointly but individually liable. There is no room for finger-pointing. Taking the right action becomes the thing that matters. 

It is also worthwhile to point out that during diversity and inclusion training we are helped to come to terms with our own strengths and opportunities. The more we look at ourselves in a clear mirror and recognise that we have work to do to become better, the more empathetic we become towards others. 

The lyrics of Michael Jacksons’ “Man in the Mirror” describes the whole process well on optimal success in training employees on diversity and inclusion. If we can get participants to subscribe to these lyrics we will begin to win. “I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life, it’s gonna feel real good, Gonna make a difference, Gonna make it right. I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways, and no message could have been any clearer, if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and them make a change.”