There exists an ongoing debate about the controversial topic of personal opinion and being authentically you in the workplace. Where does personal opinion exist in an organization’s culture? Furthermore, should it exist? In order to create a successfully diverse organization, leaders must know how to navigate and address a room full of differing opinions and backgrounds. Including where their own opinions should be used and when they should be put aside. To fully achieve that success, there are a few things to consider when it comes to understanding how you can be consistent in authenticity while eliminating things like microaggressions and conflicts.
Evaluate Your Culture
The very first thing you should do as an organizational leader is take a step back when evaluating your workplace culture. What do you truly want it to be? If you want the environment to be more inclusive, all respectful voices should be heard and represented equally. This will open up a door to some possibly difficult conversations, especially when employees from different backgrounds are involved, but that goes with the territory.
You need to be mindfully aware and culturally competent.
Ordering tacos for Cinco de Mayo or Asian food for Asian Heritage month isn’t a call for celebration. Did you know that most people don’t even know why Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday? Just because you treat your employees to tacos for lunch and happy hour after work doesn’t mean those of Mexican heritage will just swallow their opinion of your cultural incompetency. If you lead your organization to have a clear diversity and inclusion policy, and you’re seen enforcing said policy, not only will you have happier employees, but build a stronger employer brand. Any type of discrimination, prejudice, lack of respect, or racism that’s allowed to fester becomes problematic very quickly if the correct steps aren’t taken to show that any behavior of this kind won’t be tolerated. So take the time to consider what an inclusive culture looks like for everyone, not just leadership.
Magnetize, Don’t Repel
Opinions can be crucial to the success of a business, and voicing them even more so. For example, if employees can find ways of bettering your organization’s systems or strategies, then voicing those opinions can lead to more efficient structures and practices. On the other hand, certain opinions about people’s personal lives or backgrounds can inherently damage professional relationships. If opinions lean more negative or harmful, then it’s better left unsaid. Tap into your caring leadership energy and focus on leading the whole person. Create a safe space that is magnetic, where people can be their authentic selves and play an integral part within the workplace culture without the harsh judgment of their coworkers.
Glen Llopis of Forbes says, “At a time where the demand for transparent communication in the workplace is at a premium, employees are not speaking-up enough. How you express your opinions at work (or not) directly reflects how people experience who you are and what you represent as a team member, department leader, and as an individual. Your voice defines the value you bring to the organization. In most cases, your identity is misrepresented because your voice does not consistently communicate what is really on your mind.”
Over the years, I have met leaders who I choose not to emulate. I’ve seen the negative impacts of their words, their actions or lack of action, and their unfiltered opinions. Being authentically a jerk wasn’t supporting the “Be You” culture they were attempting to create. Employees, on and off my team, asked me for advice and wondered what made their leaders act like they did. I can feel their pain and I choose to now lend my knowledge from experience to others. I know that I can help change the hearts and minds of leaders everywhere, which is precisely why I am doing the work that I do now. If you are ready to become a more caring, more successful leader, and provide that “Be You” culture that can grow from within, then contact us at Employee Fanatix today!
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