Ok I said it – those two letters that are at the forefront of everyone’s mind these days, but I’ve applied them to two words that are at the forefront of everyone’s mind when it comes to equity and inclusion.
I’ve witnessed arrogance and ignorance first hand – not just by men but women too. It’s astonishing to me just how righteous people get and yet are so completely misinformed on all the facts. Here are the definitions of these two terms so we are all on the same page:
Arrogance is defined as behaving as if you are more important than, or know more than, other people. Ignorance is defined as a lack of knowledge or information.
The antidote for these folks? Inclusive Leadership Skills
First – Communicate: engage and ask questions about how it is for others – whether they are female, part of the LGBTIQA+ community, Indigenous, Muslim, whomever. If you’re finding yourself in a heated discussion, pause, reflect, and ask what they think, how they see things. In a world of misinformation, it’s critical to clarify what others are saying so there aren’t these behaviours persisting and poor decisions being made.
Second – Learn EQ Skills – I find it can often be those in positions of power that are the most difficult to lift the veil about how they truly think and operate. They know how to use their position to control others and yet don’t see how this negatively impacts their relationships and themselves. It could be a gay man who thinks he doesn’t need any inclusive leadership training because he believes he already knows everything there is to know because of his lived experience, and yet is missing out on learning important skills such as impulse control, empathy, self-awareness, and integrity. Everyone can benefit from learning EQ skills regardless of gender identity, race or religion. Those who think they “know it all” but clearly don’t fall into the ‘A’ portion of this conversation.
Or I’ve seen women in positions of power who have worked their entire careers in a male dominated field and have taken on the persona of men in order to survive, and yet they seem to lack the skills needed to accept working with other women whom they can’t control in some fashion. So instead, they do everything in their power to destroy any woman who is perceived to be threatening, however unfounded and misinformed that may be. This is the ‘I’ portion of this conversation.
Lastly – Focus on the Mission, Not the Individual. Conversations with people that are different from us requires that we put on our listening cap, and refrain from trumping others with our own agenda. We have to create space to allow ALL views to be heard to make an informed decision, allowing communication channels to flow and ultimately paving a path toward fulfilling the intended mission.
I am a positive person and will maintain hope that inclusive leadership traits can permeate the AI wall that surrounds some people – for the betterment of themselves and all those around them.