SEPTEMBER 12, 2023

Contribute to Unity

In many DEIB conversations, I find that people (of all backgrounds) try to quickly get past uncomfortable conflict.

People don’t want to “sit with it” or deal with the other person’s emotions or their own.

I see this all the time.

Instead of open dialogue and learning how to relate to each other, leaders simply separate people, create a new policy, redo a job description, or make departmental shifts.

The irony is that while leaders all want unity, they also don’t want to engage because it’s uncomfortable for them, and avoidance only puts up walls and separates people.

Encourage Courageous Conversations By Having Them Yourself

At OAIB, we teach leaders to move away from “do’s and don’ts, to model the behavior they want, by “engaging in the difficult ” with courageous conversations.

This means you yourself should:

  • Give the benefit of the doubt because you often don’t know what someone else has gone through.
  • Meet people where they are, by making your intent to understand, rather than to be understood.
  • Put ego aside, don’t get defensive, and sit with your own discomfort. Avoid blaming, getting stuck in the past, finger-pointing, being combative, or taking it personally.
  • Listen with empathy, connecting to the emotions that underpin the experience.
  • Enter the discomfort, sitting with it to validate your own emotions and theirs.

We call this leading with humanity.

As Brene Brown says, we can lead from hurt or lead from the heart.

As leaders, we need to “go there,” because when we teach avoidance, no one around us will work through their differences.

Want to build a culture of unity? Check out our Leadership Academy.