Diversity and inclusion are the big 2 in the workplace. D&I are simple as far as racial or physical differences are concerned. However, these are the bare minimum for the XXI c. workplace. The not-so-obvious aspects of inclusion are mental, emotional, and stylistic inclusion. And these are the topics that surface during corporate therapy sessions time and again. So, what exactly is expected from the inclusive workplace in terms of thought, character, and style of expression?
Whatever anyone suggests makes sense, period. There is no such thing as “nonsense” or “impossible”. Not every idea is going to see the light of day. But it sure makes sense if it is expressed. Accepting the fact that there is variation in thought is a must in the inclusive workplace. So, the least every employee can do when facing an “impossible” suggestion is to hear the arguments.
Never ever argue with the conclusion or - worse - the person. Instead, argue with the arguments, if you must. Also, you should know that it is OK to hear colleagues out and not draw conclusions. “I hear you” is a good enough answer.
Building a culture of cooperation does not mean excluding less cooperative employees. Building a culture of cooperation means allowing the employees to work together through the processes and the functions. No one should feel like they don’t belong in a certain “workplace culture”. The loud, the quiet, the doers, the thinkers, and the rest should feel just the same - accepted. Since corporate culture is often mistakenly perceived to be in opposition with certain employee characters, we felt like saying it clearly: it’s not. So, every kind of employee can serve any workplace if they know how to do the job. And open culture can accommodate closed personalities. After all, that’s why it’s open, right?
And we’re not talking jackets here. Every employee has their own way of delivering the message. Some like it short, some like it long, and some like it “spicy”. Inclusion is allowing for the style of expression without prejudice. No one should be expected to be different from who they are. And that includes the workplace. You can say No in so many ways, it would be a waste of time to list them all. All you need to know is that they exist, and that they are all the right ways to say so. If you hear No and see a frown, it’s a No. If you hear No and see a smile, it’s a No. No more, no less. Getting to the bone of the message should be the primary objective of workplace conversations.
Inclusion of thought, character, and self expression add a lot of value to the workplace. Employees learn acceptance, flexibility, and emotional intelligence. But, above all, D&I keep employees engaged and allow them to grow, which is the No. 1 self-motivator in the XXI c. workplace.