Conscious Inclusion & Conscious Compassion: 4 Ways Leaders Can Step Up During Challenging Times

Demonstrate Empathy

For many businesses, the work continues, the goals are still set and expected to be met, and tasks need to be completed. Nothing has changed, really. It may seem that there’s no time for empathy because everything else is (still) chaotic. Yet this is the perfect time to take the time to empathize. Direct reports need to know that you understand their personal situation – to the extent they are willing to share details – and that you empathize with all they are juggling.

Embrace Differences

Now is a good time for transparency. Not everyone is comfortable with the myriad of new tech tools popping up to assist communications when face-to-face isn’t possible. For employees who have worked in traditional office settings for years, the myriad of new systems can be overwhelming. On the flip side, maybe the seasoned team members can provide some tips and shortcuts to the newbies.

Leaders can step up by embracing the generational differences among their team members related to technology, tasks, and processes. Conscious inclusion is vital. Identify and acknowledge each person’s comfort levels and experience. Then ask younger team members to assist those less comfortable with certain tools. Ask seasoned team members to offer some tips for staying focused. Sharing across generations will pave a way to forge positive working relationships and build trust. Engaging each generation with its unique skills to help others will create stronger teamwork going forward.

Managing Privilege

Recognizing privilege is important. It is neither good nor bad, it just is. Managing privilege is challenging in the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. Employees may feel “exposed” as they struggle to manage a new work environment, children and family, finances, and food shortages, and certain privileges or lack thereof come to light. While each person’s level of privilege varies, it’s important to maintain privacy when needed and empathize.

Try to focus on the positive when possible – it’s a privilege to have a job that can be performed remotely, for example – and empathize with a lack of privilege when it comes to light – it’s a lack of privilege when finances prevent an internet service upgrade. Avoiding judgment is crucial, as is maintaining confidentiality when privileges are revealed. Remaining positive and showing empathy will help employees better manage their individual situations. 

Remember to Evolve

As stated earlier, we’re all in a fluid environment, and change is everywhere. That’s ok. We’re all evolving whether we know it or not. Some employees may finally embrace changes they’ve been apprehensive about; others may learn to thrive outside of their comfort zone, and some may be forced to rise to a new level of greatness. It’s exciting to create what we will become in the future. As a leader, using best practices like these to remain connected and support each individual will create a more cohesive team – one built on empathy, trust, and respect. 

2 replies
  1. Pepper Miller
    Pepper Miller says:

    Excellent discussion. Would like to know how these internal ideas translate to the masses, to the Black community that feels undervalued; to non-Blacks who are having an Ah-ha moment and want to close gaps and unite with the Black community.

    Reply
    • The Kaleidoscope Group
      The Kaleidoscope Group says:

      For sure this discussion deserves, rather demands, a broader conversation. On the one hand, many in the Black community feel undervalued and unheard.  On the other, there are non-Blacks who are having an Ah-Ha moment finally realizing that they have dismissed or just haven’t been listening to the cries Black Americans. The concepts of empathy, embracing differences and managing privilege help pave the road to trust and respect.  This is true in the workplace or in the community. Blacks will never respect those who continue to dismiss them, fail to listen and continue to support things that are harmful and cause trauma in their lives (this is just human nature).  We believe empathy leads to understanding, embracing differences leads to conversations and managing privilege leads to real relationships. Because trust and respect are virtually non-existent in this climate, there is a lot of work to be done to earn that trust and respect from the black community. We know that there are as many solutions as there are individuals to closing the gap with the Black community because while practices, policies and procedures are all well and good, they have to be embraced by people, real people, individual by individual.  And as we can see from the events of the past week, this requires not only a shift in thinking but some hard work. We are excited that you are part of this discussion as well as the broader conversation it demands.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.