Gender Diversity in the Modern Workplace
Diversity has become such an important topic that we broke it down into three parts – First, we talked about diversity across cultural and racial differences. Then, we touched on diversity across the ages. Now, let’s dive into how to understand gender diversity.
A swiftly changing workplace can offer some confusing messages. How do you keep your team respectful but not on edge? Your diverse group needs to understand, respect, and appreciate each team member for who they are. Further, what is your organization doing to enact a cohesive policy for your team?
Get Smart about Implicit Bias
Likely you already know plenty about gender bias and how to counter it. However, are you in tune with the implicit bias messages we take in each day? Also, do you know how to spot them and offer better information? As a leader, you have to be aware and know how to disarm this bias.
Implicit bias has become a hot topic in regards to all types of diversity but can be especially engrained as it refers to gender bias.
Communicate Your Policy
It would be best if you were comfortable communicating your diversity policies to your team. Not just the actual words, but the intention and the messages. Speak openly and plainly about the how and why of the system. Make it clear what you will and won’t tolerate. Often what was OK yesterday is now taboo, there should be no grey area. As the modern workplace continues to change and evolve, you might consider investing in ongoing education about topics that need to be addressed.
Your actions will also influence your team. It is not enough to enact a policy; your behavior should mirror your policies. Further, be vigilant about behavior and language that may have once been acceptable in the near past. Your team could also be hanging onto some biases that you should be comfortable spotting and offering a redirection that is enlightened and helpful.
This is an important topic: stay with it. As your workforce changes, so will the needs of your organization and your team. Once you have a policy in place, the work isn't over. Keep learning about how you can foster respect among team members, stay ahead of implicit bias, and make your organization a standard for diversity. In addition to outside resources, keep up with your team – they may know even more about what is working and how you can improve.
Another increasingly important part of your gender diversity policy should also note the correct use of pronouns. He/She/They could be an important part of an employee’s identity and should be recognized.
As with any training for your team, don’t be shy to reach out and ask for help. It could be easy to think that you have a handle on gender diversity, but without some professional guidance, you might be missing some essential steps.
And don't forget...
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