Leadership authentically in the workplace is a topic that is more important than ever before. With the world shifting to remote work, it has become even more essential to ensure that everyone is included and valued in the workplace. Inclusion starts with "I" and goes beyond policies and processes, it requires us to unleash the power of truth and authenticity.
For many, walking into a room where no one looks like them is an uneasy experience. Being the only person of their identity and not being valued when their opinion is not asked for is a reality that many faces. Women and people of color are subject to the most microaggressions and are often overlooked or have someone else take credit for their contributions.
The frustration of asserting one's opinion only to be labeled as aggressive, mistaking passion for aggression, and the awkwardness of being mistaken for the same ethnicity are all experiences that can make it difficult for people to bring their authentic selves to work. People who don't want to put in the effort to pronounce someone's name or place them in racial or ethnic buckets can further add to the feeling of not being valued.
So, how do we create an authentic environment where we appreciate everyone's humanity? How do we build a space for ourselves where we can express our gifts and talents without fear of being judged or overlooked?
One way to start is by thinking super-consciously about our own identities and how they shape our experiences. Reflecting on our own privilege and gaining empathy for others can help us understand the experiences of our colleagues and co-workers. It is essential to remember that just because an organization may be a great place to work, it doesn't mean that everyone is having a great experience.
We must also build systems, policies, and processes that promote authenticity and inclusivity. This includes creating psychological safety, where people feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work and encouraging open and honest conversations about the unique experiences and perspectives of each individual.
Moreover, we should support and promote legislation and initiatives that advocate for diversity and inclusivity, such as the Crown Act, which prohibits discrimination against have natural hair. We must also push back against attempts to whitewash history, as understanding the past is crucial to building a better future for everyone.
In conclusion, building authenticity in the workplace is a journey that requires us to be conscious of our actions, policies, and the way we treat others. It starts with each of us taking responsibility for creating an inclusive environment and encouraging others to do the same. As we work to build organizations that care for everyone's authenticity, we will see increased productivity, better teamwork, and a more satisfying work experience for all.