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Can Opposing Views Share A Sense Of Belonging?

First published on LinkedIn.


 

This month, I asked if you feel comfortable expressing your authentic self at work. Compared to 2022, more people said no and fewer said yes. This is very concerning, but it's often the reality for many of us who are not safe to be ourselves in the workplace.


Being your true authentic self can be frightening and means unmasking hidden parts that we may not feel comfortable sharing with others. Having courage helps. I often tell clients that there is power in speaking up and lending your voice to marginalized communities, especially when it comes to social wellbeing. By doing so, we can all work together to connect communities together little by little…no matter how different we may seem.

 

But today, topics related to social issues are so divisive that the threat of opposing views can truly feel like stepping on landmines. 

 

It’s not that opposing views are bad for the workplace, in fact, they can be very healthy! We’ve talked about the benefits of diverse perspectives in the workplace many times before. They can help increase creativity and innovation within a team, improve upon decision-making skills, and can positively impact morale and productivity. 

 

One of the key qualities leaders should be working on is receptiveness; remaining open-minded and willing to communicate and engage with people who have different opinions from yours. This means that we do not dismiss or dehumanize those who hold opposing viewpoints. This does not mean you need to change your own opinions; it is about listening and being open to considering other perspectives. 


You can show receptiveness by following the HEAR approach:

  • Hedge your claims. Example: “I think it’s possible that…”

  • Emphasize Agreement. Example: “We are both concerned with…”

  • Acknowledge another’s perspective. Example: “I understand that…”

  • Reframe to the positive. Example: “I really appreciate it when…”

 

This can help you learn how to interact with colleagues and individuals in a way that is open, honest & understanding – leading with empathy first. We always want to emphasize the importance of empathy in the workplace as it is the key foundational element to building and maintaining good relationships, and fostering a sense of Belonging. 

 

Empathy is key to maintaining civil relationships, and according to a SHRM report from March 2024, workplace incivility is on the rise.

  • 171 Million U.S. workers collectively experience acts of incivility per day.

  • 58% of U.S. workers believe our society is uncivil.

  • Nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers have experienced or witnessed incivility in their workplace within the past month.

  • One-third of U.S. workers believe workplace conflict will increase over the next 12 months.

  • 66% of U.S. workers agree that incivility reduces productivity.

  • 59% of U.S. workers agree that incivility causes a decline in employee morale.

  • Nearly 40% of daily acts of incivility occur in the workplace.

  • Only 25% of U.S. workers believe that their managers are effective at handling incivility.

 

These stats are concerning, to say the least. We need to foster the ability to be assertive with respect. We need to learn how to disagree in a healthy way in order to move forward through conflict. It is impossible to avoid conflict completely as we are all different people. But when our focus is on listening and understanding, we have a much better chance of resolving conflict and even gaining something from it.

 

Workers who rate their workplace as uncivil are over 3X more likely to be dissatisfied with their job. This a serious problem, as the Belonging piece to DEIB is the longest part of the journey when it comes to helping employees be their best and true authentic selves at work. This starts with creating an environment of psychological safety which requires guardrails. 

 

Guardrails can be seen as restrictions but they help protect underrepresented voices. They are structural limitations and incentives that build humaneness into work


It’s easy for loud voices to dominate…so let’s be an ALLY and speak up!

Take a look at the following resource from SHRM for some questions and ways to start a dialogue.



My new LinkedIn Learning course to “Overcome Managerial Bias in Performance Management” is now LIVE! I have made the access link for FREE for you!

 

In this course, I teach you the types of bias that can impact performance management—and how to identify and overcome managerial bias. You will learn about the key performance management practices that mitigate bias, the role of diversity and inclusion in performance management, and tools and technologies for bias mitigation. 


June Observances


  • LGBTQIA2S+ Pride Month: This month is dedicated to celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride.

  • Immigrant Heritage Month: This month honors the rich contributions that immigrants and their descendants have made to our shared history and culture.

  • Caribbean American Heritage Month: The month promotes the rich culture and heritage of the Caribbean American people and their contribution to the United States of America.

  • June 2 - Native American Citizenship Day: This day celebrates the history, heritage, and culture of Native American tribes across the country. All the tribes have their own traditions and beliefs. This day celebrates their contribution to the country’s culture and a reminder of their enduring legacy.

  • June 7 - Feast of the Most Sacred Heart: A Catholic holiday celebrated 19 days after Pentecost.

  • June 11-13 - Shavuot: A Jewish holiday that begins at sundown on Tuesday June 11, and concludes at nightfall on Thursday, June 13.

  • June 12 - National Loving Day: Each year, National Loving Day on June 12th commemorates the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia. This decision struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states, allowing interracial marriage.

  • June 13 - LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day: On LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day, we join forces to challenge a system that devalues our labor, discriminates against our identities, and denies us the economic security we deserve.

  • June 16 - Father's Day: This is a holiday honoring one's father, as well as fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.

  • June 17-20 - Eid-al-Adha: An Islamic holiday that begins on the evening of Sunday, June 16 and ends on the evening of Thursday, June 20.

  • June 18 - International Day of Countering Hate Speech: The U.N. General Assembly adopted the resolution to counter hate speech and set up this milestone in the fight against hate speech. Speech should not be a weapon for creating more mayhem in this volatile world; thus, the International Day for Countering Hate Speech will help to stop hate-mongering.

  • June 19 - Juneteenth: Juneteenth is the oldest-known celebration marking the end of slavery in the United States. It is also known as “Freedom Day,” “Juneteenth National Independence Day,” or “Emancipation Day.”

  • June 21 - National Indigenous Peoples Day (First Nations Day): This is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples.

  • June 23 - International Women in Engineering Day: This is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. It celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world.

  • June 28 - LGBTQIA2S+ Pride Day: This day is celebrated every June as a tribute to those who were involved in the Stonewall Riots and celebrates people of all genders and sexual orientations.

 

Until next month... Be well and stay safe & healthy!

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