Inclusivity means not "just we’re allowed to be there," but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things. ~Claudia Brind-Woody
As the Black Lives Matter movement gains more widespread traction, the focus on diversity and inclusion has taken on new dimensions for workplaces. Critical conversations within organizations are revealing an undercurrent of toxicity that, while unintentional, has deeply impacted the experience and morale of team members.
"But Julia, organizational culture is one of those things that just evolves organically... right?"
Not at all. Culture in the workplace has to be as intentional and prioritized as your business strategy or your core service/product offering. If you want a workforce that's upwardly mobile and "comfortably in control," you need to view your culture as a key business driver. Here’s how you can do that:
1. Encourage your team to socially connect at...
Once upon a time…
Or (for those like me), a long time ago in a galaxy far far away….
As a child, you will recall that's how many stories would begin. Fairytales and stories seemed to always follow a similar plot of conflict between good and evil. It's no wonder that we carry these same archetypes into adulthood – into our homes and the workplace. But unfortunately, in real life, there is no "happily ever after" when this plot plays out in our organizations. The conflict triangle I'm going to discuss results in low productivity, employee turnover, and lack of trust. But, if we can each take part in rewriting the story in our workplace, we will learn to see conflict differently and find constructive ways to approach it.
So, what is the conflict triangle?
Most children's stories consist of three main types of characters: the victim (a "damsel in distress" or an innocent child), the villain (a witch, giant or dragon), and the hero...
Listening is a powerful and magnetic force. Have you ever noticed this? The people who listen to us are the ones that draw us closer. So, it makes sense why improved listening skills can make you a more effective leader. Whether you’re listening to your kids or in a meeting receiving feedback from your employees, it’s essential that you listen carefully and become more mindful of what others are saying between the lines.
As a leader, it’s not always easy to know what subordinates are thinking. It's quite common for those who speak out about their concerns to be labeled as complainers or having a bad attitude. Depending on the culture, there may be fears or frustrations around communication.
But, the leader who can listen clearly will develop relationships of trust and let others know their voice has value.
One of the ways a true leader can listen is by learning body language, being able to discern moods, facial expressions, and knowing behavioral issues....
Running a small business isn’t easy. In our global society there is unlimited opportunities, but also unlimited threats. So when a competitor moves in — especially a big one — it can feel like battle lines have been drawn.
Sharpen Your Edge
Before you do anything, accept the fact that you can’t compete on the same level as a large national chain. But that doesn’t mean you can’t win the battle. Study what the competition does and how they do it. Then use that information to define — and sharpen — your company’s competitive edge.
A large competitor will almost certainly have lower prices and a deeper inventory. But you can connect with customers in ways the competition can’t. You can add value to every customer interaction by being attentive and providing expertise and personalized service.
Perhaps your biggest edge is your size. Being small means you can respond to market trends and customer requests more quickly. You...
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