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Empathy: A Necessary Soft Skill (5 ways to boost it)

on Nov 24, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Compassion Communication Soft Skills
Many people are quick to dismiss so-called “soft skills.” These skills might include communication, active listening, mediation, negotiation, or (the topic of this blog post) empathy. In truth, there is nothing “soft” about these skills. They are just as vital as company finances or operations. In fact, companies that lack these soft skills are far less likely to succeed than companies that embrace them. Picture a company that lacks empathy (which can be defined as the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or experience of others). In such a company, the leadership team doesn’t see its workers’ humanity—the very real struggles, needs, and emotions people grapple with every day. Instead, it sees numbers and productivity. In such an environment, the company doesn’t see the point of offering paid parental leave, or mental health resources, or affinity groups for underrepresented people. It may do the bare minimum to comply with laws and retain its workforce, but anything beyond that is considered superfluous. Would you want to work in this kind of cold, calculating environment? If not, you’re certainly not alone.
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4 Ways to Improve Retention Through Inclusion Practices

on Nov 17, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity leadership Inclusion retention
Diversity and inclusion are not the same. A company can make a heroic effort to hire people of different races, ethnicities, genders, and abilities…and then completely fail to integrate and include them. In fact, this happens all the time. A company can become so absorbed with demographics, they forget that they’re dealing with people, not numbers. As the CEO of Diversity and Ability, Atif Choudhury, says, “Diversity is about counting people, inclusion is about insisting they count.” It's clear underrepresented employees often do not feel like they count. A recent report found that Black workers were 30 percent more likely to leave their jobs than white colleagues. Another study found that women are three times more likely to quit if they feel excluded at work. These are troubling statistics, but they are certainly not insurmountable. With an intentional plan and the motivation to put that plan into action, company leaders can significantly improve inclusivity practices. Start with these four action steps...
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The Trouble With Unequal Team Development (and what leaders can do)

on Nov 10, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership personal development Equity Teamwork
Imagine you’re training to run a marathon. A personal trainer has determined your exercise schedule, and a dietician has advised you on which foods to eat and which to avoid. You have the best pair of shoes on the market, a sweat-wicking running shirt, and a custom water bottle. After months of following a training and diet regime, you’re set up for success. Now, imagine you don’t have any of those things. Instead, you’ve been dropped off at the starting line wearing your street clothes and casual shoes. You don’t have any training under your belt, and you haven’t even been given a map of the course! What are the chances you’ll actually succeed? This analogy illustrates the distinct advantages and disadvantages certain people experience in the workplace. Some are simply setup for success far better than others, whether they realize it or not. And those advantages are often perpetuated by company leaders (again, whether they realize it or not).
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4 Ways to Effectively Lead a Multi-Generational Team

on Nov 3, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Business Communication Teamwork
In today’s workforce, it’s possible for five different generations to work alongside one another. Baby Boomers (born between approximately 1946 and 1964), Generation X (1965-1980), and Millennials (1981-1995) comprise the bulk of the workforce, while the Traditionalists (aka The Silent Generation, 1922-1945) and Generation Z (1996-2015) make up a smaller sliver. With people living and working longer, this blended workforce is new and unique. A multi-generational workforce can be a boon to businesses. When people of different ages effectively collaborate, that can result in more innovations and creativity, stronger brand-building, greater inclusivity, and knowledge sharing. However, multi-generational workplaces can also be a breeding ground for conflict and misunderstandings. A report by AARP reveals that “60 percent of workers report the presence of generational conflict in their workplace.” This conflict might be caused by differences in communication, values, goals, culture, or more. As a leader, how can you minimize conflict and effectively lead a multi-generational team? Try the following four approaches:
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6 Signs Your Workplace Would Benefit from a DEI Consultant

on Oct 19, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Inclusion DEI Consultant Equity
The plain truth is that most workplaces in the United States have not been set up to be diverse and inclusive. For decades, the default image of a business person has been a certain archetype (white, male, married to a woman, neurotypical…the list goes on), and it takes intentional and persistent effort to dismantle those norms.
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5 Ways to Invite Diverse Perspectives into Meetings

on Oct 6, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity meeting Communication Inclusion
Many workplaces are so focused on diversity goals, they completely forget about inclusion. Yes, it’s an important first step to hire diverse talent. But that isn’t enough. To make the most of your diverse team and create a welcoming environment, it’s critical for leaders to consider everyone’s ideas, perspectives, and concerns. In part, that means holding meetings that work for everyone—meetings that encourage multiple viewpoints and make sure everyone’s voice is heard. According to a 2022 article by NPR correspondent, Stacey Vanek Smith, “Getting interrupted, talked over and ignored in meetings happens to everyone — but more often to gender minorities, people of color and more junior employees.” If you fall into any one of these categories, you are probably well aware that this is true. In one study by George Washington University, men interrupted women 33 percent more often than other men. And Black people often report feeling silenced in the workplace. Not only does silencing affect employees on a personal level, it can also affect a company’s bottom line. Higher workplace engagement can lead to higher productivity, a better attendance record, and improved retention. There are clearly many benefits to engaging and including your people, and team meetings provide a great opportunity to begin fostering intentional inclusion. Here are 5 ways to invite multiple voices—and multiple perspectives—into meetings:
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4 Steps to Transparent Goal Setting (and why it’s important)

on Sep 22, 2022 9:00:00 PM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Communication goals Inclusion
A commonly told story about the 1969 moon landing mission involves former president John F. Kennedy and a custodian who worked at the NASA space center. While visiting NASA, Kennedy supposedly approached a custodian and asked about the man’s work. The man said, “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” Regardless of the validity of this story, it conveys a strong message. When an organization is governed by a strong, guiding vision, people become invested. They become part of the mission, no matter their role.
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4 Ways to Support Working Parents (an article for employers AND parents)

on Sep 8, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Career Family Children Resources
September evokes many different images, thoughts, and emotions. We associate this month with the end of summer and beginning of fall, a shift in the weather, and (for many) the start of a new school year. While back-to-school time can be a relief for many parents (caring for restless kids during the summer can be a full-time job on its own!), it can also kick off other types of complications—carpooling to soccer games, picking kids up from drama club, chaperoning school field trips. For working parents, life is rarely easy or still. As we ease back into the school year, it’s helpful to acknowledge the challenges that come with balancing parenthood and a career. Sacrifices and compromises are essential parts of life. For working parents, things can get tough and stress levels can run high, but I’m here to tell you it is possible to juggle both, especially when you have the backing of a supportive employer. This post is meant for two different types of people: working parents and the people who employ them. If you are an employer (or manager, HR rep, or anyone with some clout in your company), think about how you can support your people by taking some of the following actions. If you are an employed parent that is not receiving all the support you deserve, consider asking about some of the items on this list. When workplaces provide resources and empathy to working parents, everyone wins.
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6 Ways to Push Back Against Unconscious Bias

on Aug 25, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 1 Comment | Diversity Race Fear Bias
Our brains have evolved over thousands of years to take mental shortcuts. We are capable of processing about 11 million pieces of information per second, but only 40 pieces of information is processed consciously (while the vast majority happens subconsciously). Because of these neuro-shortcuts, when we meet new people, we tend to automatically make snap judgments about them. Years ago, this was a safety mechanism. Our brain’s amygdala, which controls our fight or flight reflex, would give a signal to run/react/fight in the face of the unknown. Today, that animal impulse still lingers in the form of unconscious bias. Obviously, the human race has come a long way over the past couple thousand years, but that has only complicated unconscious bias, not eliminated it. Now, instead of fearing unknown entities, we might instead believe social narratives about certain groups of people. According to Renee Navarro, Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach at UCSF, “Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one's tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.” Categorizing. Mental shortcuts. Unconscious processing. While these cognitive tendencies might occur instinctively, that doesn’t give anyone a free pass to hold onto their biases. It is our collective responsibility to acknowledge unconscious bias and work to change the narrative (both in society and within our own heads). Start with these 6 steps...
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5 Methods for Collecting Honest Feedback

on Aug 11, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Employee Career leadership Communication
In the workplace, how often do you say things are fine when they’re really not? How often do you go along with an idea or initiative, even though you disagree with a few parts of the plan? How often do you keep quiet about a co-worker’s annoying or unproductive behavior? If you’ve ever faced repercussions for speaking up, chances are, you’ll think twice before doing so again. And that’s a shame! Innovations and improvements are often born through dissention. When the workplace settles for “business as usual,” it tends to stagnate. Worse, if the majority continues to make most decisions and set the tone/culture of the workplace, voices are silenced and entire groups of people begin to feel as if they don’t matter. That’s where feedback comes into play.
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