First, I want to acknowledge that I haven’t written a blog in three months due to the roller coaster that has been 2020. I am back from this hiatus and I am starting by addressing the topic that is facing leaders across the country. Whether you are a leader at your business, your non-profit, your place of worship, or as a leader in your volunteer efforts, this time, it is more important than ever to shut up and listen.
Rather than rushing out a PR statement, consider listening first. This may be uncomfortable. Leaders are known for taking charge and creating change. They are often rewarded with leadership roles because they are problem solvers. Leaders take action, create solutions, and lead the way for others. But not now. Now is not the time to jump into action. Now is the time to stop, sit, breathe, and listen.
I have written many times about the value of listening to your candidates, your employees and your vendors. As a profession, HR experts communicate the importance of listening as an essential tool for effective and successful workplaces.
Let’s do this. Let’s listen because now is the time. Now is the time to not only listen to the voices of our employees that have reached out about equal access, equal treatment, bias, racism, discrimination and harassment, but also ensure those voices participate in how those issues are addressed.
We need to be asking our employees, customers, and colleagues to help us with one thing first: Let us know what your experiences are and help us to understand better.
If you truly, really, absolutely are ready to create a culture that is positive, transparent, diverse and inclusive, then you must first listen and understand. This is not canned trainings or videos and just “checking the box.” Investing time and money to truly create and maintain a thriving environment will ensure the words of your support statement match the reality of your workplace.