DECEMBER 13, 2023

Everyone Should Change, Except Me

I am met with resistance when I speak about accountability in DEIB work.

This resistance isn’t just from managers who let bad behavior slide, but also from leaders, especially tenured leaders, who don’t see how their actions contribute to problems.

While many leaders are open to the general concepts of DEIB and support it with their words, they see themselves as the exception.

These leaders have been operating the same way for so long, that they don’t know any other way, so the idea of confronting their own embedded ways of thinking is a place they are unwilling to go.

The message I get from such leaders is that “DEIB is for my employees, but not for me.”

Some are so disengaged from the needs of their employees that they may as well be miles away. These leaders are the ones who don’t hear about all the Black women who left the organization until a lawsuit is filed.

Let me be clear, in no way do I believe White leaders are sitting in a board room somewhere plotting for Black people to have a bad experience at their organization. Yes, there are racist people who don’t value People of Color, but that’s not what we’re dealing with.

We’re dealing with human beings, and people are driven largely by fear.

To stop the weaponization of DEIB and help DEIB achieve its promise, we have to “go there.” We must address fear-based cultural resistance generally, and racial dynamics specifically.

As DEIB practitioners, it’s our job to root out fear, break down cultural resistance, and then find ways to build in accountability.

When DEIB is visibly working, it doesn’t need defending because organizational culture thrives. People can bring their best selves to work. They can operate in cultures where they know that they won’t be punished, held back, or discounted because of the way they speak, how they wear their hair, or their background.

The haters won’t be as able to weaponize our work when it’s clearly contributing to personal breakthroughs, team unity, more satisfied employees, innovation, and organizational impact.

If you need help with this, check out our Leadership Academy.