Recovering from Diversity-Related Challenges

Schools and businesses derive many benefits from promoting diversity and inclusion. Diversity on college campuses leads to increased satisfaction, enhanced critical thinking skills, and more academic engagement. Gallup has reported that employees, who work for companies that value the diverse strengths and talents of their workforce, report greater well-being, and increased levels of engagement among team members. Even as organizations promote diversity and inclusion, people may experience interpersonal challenges as they attempt to integrate newly acquired knowledge, skills, and awareness into their roles and interactions. For instance, some individuals may have difficulty shifting their attitudes and behaviors, and they may blame diversity and inclusion efforts for promoting divisiveness. Others may expect instant organizational change, and they grow disappointed with the pace.

In these situations, team members and colleagues may display a range of behaviors and emotions that, when unaddressed, become barriers to inclusive workplace settings.

  • Avoidance or Silence: Individuals may avoid diversity-related issues altogether or remain silent when diversity is being discussed.
  • Unwanted emotions: Workplace settings can become tense as a result of individuals experiencing guilt, fear, irritability, and anger.
  • Conflict: Team members may become adversarial, and workplace interactions could be characterized by passive-aggressiveness, sabotage, or exclusion.

Oftentimes, outside consultation and facilitation can be useful for helping teams to recover from and work through diversity-related challenges.

To address these types of workplace dynamics, Dr. Green offers a multi-prong approach that could include the following:

  1. Assessment: Initial consultation and interviews with key parties to evaluate current challenges
  2. Collaborative Planning: Collaboration with key stakeholders to develop an action plan
  3. Professional Development Planning: On-site facilitation of experiential professional development and community-building sessions
  4. Individual Consultation: Coaching offered to key parties to develop intra- and interpersonal recovery skills
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