I read this post recently by William Wiggins at Fistful of Talent on Transgenderism. It's a simple, insightful piece on being aware.
Prior to reading William's post, I finished Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac. It's the story of how Uber rose from humble beginnings to become a Unicorn, then stumble from the top as it's bro-tastic culture caused it to be tone-deaf to the world around it via PR fiasco after PR fiasco.
Both are highly recommended reading. One is 500 words and one is 80,000 words.
There's a lesson in reading progressive takes on emerging workplace issues, many of which have involved orientation/gender, then combining them with cautionary tales.
The lesson? Being a leader in modern times is tricky. Consider the following realities:
- You're a leader.
- You're full of personal thoughts, a specific background and some form of bias.
- When change comes and you're asked to consider the rights of yet another special class of people, it's easy to react as if it's a burden or worse.
- You can say it's all gone too far. Many will agree with you.
- But - You'll ultimately acknowledge the rights of the class of people in front of you - or you won't be allowed to lead anymore.
History shows this cycle to be true.
What if you weren't late the game? What if you decided that rather than be late to the game, you made it a priority to make all feel welcome and on equal ground in your company or on your team as a leader?
I'll tell you what if, my friend. If that was your approach, you'd find the people in question - the special class of people currently causing others discomfort (the groups change over time) - incredibly willing to work for you and just as importantly, freed to do their best work. You'd be maximizing your ability to get great work from the resources you have.
When you're early on inclusion, a funny thing happens. Performance and the ability for someone to do their best work goes up.
None of us are perfect when it comes to the change cycle outlined in #1 through #5 above. But I feel like we're moving quicker through the cycle to acceptance, and that' a good thing.
Performance goes up as bullshit goes down. Just be crystal clear on what's bullshit in this cycle (Hint, it's the ones slow to acknowledge those with differences).