I am not a DEI consultant. I don’t work in a DEI or HR department. And I’m not formally trained in workplace DEI. What am I, then, and why do I constantly write and talk about the importance of anti-oppressive leadership?
Why am I always going on about meaningful diversity, equity and belonging?
Especially since I don’t actually work in the “DEI/DEB/JEDI” etc. sphere. After all, I really do emphasize these mindsets and practices a lot, don’t I?
At the heart of it, it’s because I care. A very great deal.
I know what it feels like to encounter barrier after barrier, and be impacted by others’ unconscious bias, regardless of high performance. And I’ve seen it happen to countless others.
It’s awful. It’s enraging. It’s utterly and entirely unnecessary.
And this is coming from someone who – while I am a racialized woman with multi neurodivergence – still has a great deal of privilege that others do not. So the barriers others encounter are even worse. And are also awful, enraging and unnecessary.
And here’s the thing – the angst, the delay, the financial impacts, the lack of options, the slow death, the lost effectiveness, the loss of soul – none of this is actually necessary.
Not with conscious leaders at the helm.
What’s the issue, then?
The issue is that systemic oppression – even if it’s all entirely unconscious – results in this myriad of problematic realities.
For REAL people. With REAL lives.
I mean it with every cell in my being that every single individual is a person before they’re an employee. And that matters, whether or not organizations are ready to pay attention to that fact.
So why do I care so much about how leaders – myself included – engage with and treat the people in their organizations? Because it’s an immense responsibility that requires wise stewardship.
I personally take that responsibility and honour very seriously as a leader, and always have.
The leaders who:
- approach every day remembering that they have a disproportionate effect on the entire lives of others and
- act on that with wise stewardship
are the leaders with longterm sustainable teams, healthier work environments, higher quality outputs, and smarter choices overall.
Also, it’s just ethical.
That’s why I talk about all of this so much.
Outmoded systems may have momentum and integration deep into organizations, but every single leader has a new opportunity every day to do the right thing.
So let’s do the right thing.
You can read more about anti-oppressive leadership here.