Finding our voice in a mixed up and very noisy world isn't easy. When you have a specific viewpoint about diversity, multiculturalism or inclusion, sometimes you may take as a risk to make your voice heard. However, always keep in mind that your perspective might bring a ray of sunshine in a very dark place. Or your voice may be a breath of fresh air to clear out the overbearing stuffiness that most people want to end.
Speaking up at work is never easy. That's why so many remain voiceless, letting the pioneers on the team take the hit for daring to be expressive. Or there may be so much conversation in your office that no-one can get a word in edgewise.
With careful deliberation, practice, and confidence, you can be the voice of reason and a trusted leader for the voiceless.
Here's a 5 Step Plan to jumpstart your strategy. Once you develop your personal action path, you'll bring honor and dignity to yourself in a whole new way.
1. Know the Issues!! Read multiple newspapers, magazines, online media sites, and study different points of view. Your opinion is simply NOT enough. You must understand what the issues are on all sides as you state your case.
2. Let the demographics help you make the case for diversity.
In America, our ethnic base IS changing.
Check out www.census.gov for population numbers in the United States.
Data from the 2017 Estimated Census Numbers:
Census Quick Facts:
Brookings Projection: The US Will Become “Minority White” in 2045
3. Listen with your EARS, not your MOUTH. So often when we debate an issue, as soon as the other person or opposing side starts talking, we get to work formulating our response. STOP long enough to HEAR what the other person is saying!!! Try NOT to interrupt them unless their story, argument, case, or situation starts rambling with extenuating details. You can even say, "I hear what you're saying and I respect your opinion. Perhaps you can look at it this way to understand my point of view."
4. Watch your email replies! If you have commented on an office policy that excludes people of color and detailed the concerns you have, don't be surprised if you get hate mail. Pioneers like you must prepare for naysayers, haters, resentful colleagues, or co-workers who just don't understand. Before you whip off a terse rebuttal, STOP, breathe and cool off before you respond emotionally. Try sitting on a response for 24 hours and see if your answer can be made more tempered. And remember that an angry response that is sent to "ALL" lives on forever.
5. Consider altering your opinion if necessary! Perhaps YOU need to change!! Or maybe it's WHAT you say that comes across harshly to others and triggers a negative response. Of course, if your opinion is justified, fair, equitable and inclusive, stick by it. It may cost you something, like a job promotion, title, or access to key stakeholders. But if your opinions and recommendations ultimately are made for the good of your division, department, community, or organization, then stick to your principles. In the long run, the voiceless will be grateful for your bold action, bravery, and courage.
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©2019 All Rights Reserved Carole Copeland Thomas • (508) 947-5755 • Carole@mssconnect.com