Acknowledging the elephant in the room
Ever notice how easily hatred spreads? It ignores geographic borders and steamrolls right over social boundaries. It leaves destruction in its wake by building walls of pain and trauma separating people and dividing communities.
According to a recent report in Business Insider, “A survey by Glassdoor of 1,100 US employees found that 61 percent of US employees had witnessed or experienced workplace discrimination based on age, race, gender, or LGBTQ identity.”
If you don’t’ want your staff to be among those victims you need to know how to build a great team culture. One that eliminates and avoids that kind of bigotry and embraces inclusion. And you can start by acknowledging the elephant in your own boardroom.
The landscape in Corporate America has changed. It’s more diverse socio-economically, culturally, racially, generationally, and experientially. But for all these differences we have one thing in common: everyone is still human.
That truth is hard for some people to wrap their heads around so their behavior is often inhumane. Blinded by walls of difference, they wind up saying or doing “the wrong thing” according to someone else’s definition of “right.”
Welcome to the world of microaggressions
- Complimenting a colleague for being articulate? How flattering! Unless the person you’re flattering is African American. In this case, you may be damning him with faint praise. You probably did not mean to imply that his eloquence is exceptional for a black person. But he may infer it nonetheless.
- “What country are you from originally?” Innocent enough question unless of course, the person to whom you’re speaking is of Asian descent. In this case, it might be offensive because they may be a native-born American like yourself.
- “Wow! You don’t look [Jewish, gay, pregnant]!” Okay, seriously, how could this NOT be perceived as [bigoted/clueless/offensive]?
Comments like these are examples of an explosive new 5-syllable, buzzword known as microaggressions. A quick Google search will reveal microaggressions to be: “brief and common daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental communications, whether intentional or unintentional, that transmit hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to a target person because they belong to a stigmatized group.”
Business Insider posits that “They come out in seemingly innocuous comments by people who might be well-intentioned.”
A landscape littered with eggshells?!
Wow! PC or political correctness is becoming a pain in the coccyx! With everything else that’s going on in the world, who has time to tiptoe on eggshells to appease every oversensitive person you encounter at work? You’re already up to your eyeballs in alligators, right?
The problem is that it’s not always about people being over-sensitive. In some cases, these seemingly fragile souls are just worn out from years and years of seemingly innocent-but-insensitive remarks from others. So, experts say that the effect of these little offenses is cumulative.
Imagine a series of papercuts. The first 2 or 3 may sting; 100 papercuts might become infected; 1,000 could cause an emotional hemorrhage. Now imagine yourself inflicting that last papercut! No harm may have been intended, but lethal harm was inflicted nonetheless.
How to build a great team culture: put in the work
How can you vaccinate your company and prevent the spread of this disease? Start by creating a protocol in which it’s safe for everyone to talk. Where both the offender and the offended can vent. Where the easily bruised can speak as well as the bullish brute. And the foundation of that protocol should be DiSC personality profile training. Why? Because DiSC is an emotional oasis that shifts the focus from conflict management and arbitration to understanding, inclusion, and acceptance.
DiSC stands for Dominant, Influential, Steadfast or Supportive, and Conscientious. These 4 personality types encompass all of us—no matter our gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
DiSC doesn’t “out” anybody as wrong or bad or expendable. This isn’t a game of “The Weakest Link.” On the contrary, DiSC personality training can help you identify the strengths of each member of your staff and help them deal with their weaknesses compassionately.
How to build a great team culture: build bridges
DiSC won’t make you a bonafide psychologist or a licensed therapist, but it is therapeutic. That’s because the training literally helps to clear the air so that all parties can take a deep breath, let down their guards, and have a true meeting of the minds. That is to say, DiSC reveals how you and your colleagues’ minds work based on your different personality types.
DiSC: a prism for all of your “isms”
The insights you glean from your own DiSC evaluation can help you do the self-work identifying the origin of some of your mindsets. Ageism, racism, sexism, body image bias, sexual orientation, classism, disability bias. These “isms” can make people sick emotionally and even physically.
Workplace stress, headaches, ulcers, and depression—many of these maladies can be linked directly to workplace conflict triggered by our personal “isms.” They can be contagious and make everyone at work sick. DiSC can put your company on the road to recovery and help you build the great team culture you’ve dreamed of.