8+ Problematic Phrases in the Workplace (and 8+ Alternatives)

on Mar 30, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Race Business Communication Inclusion
Workplaces are filled with jargon and catchphrases. In recent years, we’ve been inundated with “synergy” and “thinking outside the box,” while being asked to “pick the low-hanging fruit.” Those phrases might be overused (or even annoying!), but they’re harmless enough. But sometimes a phrase is not harmless. Sometimes it belittles certain groups of people, whether the speaker realizes it or not. We all have a responsibility when it comes to language. Just like when we were little kids learning about “inappropriate words” we shouldn’t say at school, so, too, must we have the humility to unlearn some of the harmful phrases that have crept into workplace lexicon over the years. If we do not make an effort to banish these phrases from our vocabulary, we run the risk of marginalizing others. These turns of phrase can be viewed as micro-aggressions (defined as statements or actions that––while sometimes well-intended––can be offensive because of the subtle ways they denigrate others), and these micro-aggressions can add up quickly and create a hostile work environment for all involved. To start creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment, it’s important to banish the following 8+ phrases from your speech. Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list, and if you’re unsure about a certain term or phrase, it’s best to look it up to see if it has a problematic connotation.
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How Learning About Yourself Builds Bridges (6 Ways)

on Mar 23, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Reflection Communication Authenticity Inclusion Continuous Education
The wisdom of ancient Greek philosophers might not be too relevant in everyday conversation, but they did say a few things that still hold water today. Among their commonly used maxims was a phrase that still resonates with many of us: “Know thyself.” It’s a simple phrase, but one that’s loaded with meaning. How well does the average person really know themselves? And how often do we sit down to intentionally become acquainted with our inner monologues (that voice that runs through our heads)? Or think about our behaviors or tendencies? Or reflect on how we might have handled a past incident better? If you’re like most people I know, you rarely carve out time for this kind of thinking. We’re all so busy with our day-to-day responsibilities, we tend to skip over personal development work. And that’s a shame because research shows, “the habit of reflection can separate extraordinary professionals from mediocre ones.” There are many ways to develop a “habit of reflection.” You could choose to journal, take a science-based assessment test, talk to a counselor, read books on the topic (such as Insight by Tasha Eurich or Speak by Tunde Oyeneyin), or just carve out a few minutes of your day to think deeply. Not only can learning about yourself increase your confidence, self-awareness, and authenticity, it can also be a powerful tool for building bridges between yourself and others. Here are six reasons why:
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From Performance to Action: 5 Steps for True Allies

on Mar 9, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Impact Communication Authenticity Continuous Education
Last week, we discussed actions that may look like allyship on the surface, but are more performative than substantive. Your marginalized employees deserve more than a performance—more than empty promises and surface-level actions. To help make a more inclusive and equitable workplace, it is crucial for leaders to turn their promises of support into action. Here are a few key steps to get started…
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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 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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5 Ways to Invite Diverse Perspectives into Meetings

on Oct 6, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 1 Comment | 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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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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4 Dangers of Groupthink (and how to avoid them)

on May 19, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 1 Comment | Diversity meeting Business Communication
Picture yourself in a team meeting. One of the more vocal team members proposes a strategy to address a current problem, and everyone nods and agrees without question. The team doesn’t consider other options or examine potential issues with the proposed strategy. No one voices an alternative idea. Instead, everyone moves on. This is an example of groupthink. In essence, groupthink involves making a decision as a group without much critical thought, discussion, feedback, or dissention. This term was coined in the 1950s, but was popularized by psychologist Irving Janis, who published a book called Groupthink in 1972 (revised in 1982). Chances are, you’ve experienced some form of groupthink.
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3 Tactful Ways to Say No

on Apr 21, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | personal development Courage Communication
If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you have many of the common traits of a Purposeful Hustler—ambition, motivation, and the drive to make a positive impact. These are admirable traits, but they can also get you into trouble if you let them run wild. There are times when Purposeful Hustlers (myself included!) make too many commitments and become stretched too thin. Or, a Purposeful Hustler might say “yes” to something when they are well aware that they should have said “no.” Saying yes is not always a bad thing. Agreeing to do things that stretch your skills or push you outside your comfort zone can help fuel your development, build resilience, and equip you with a new set of skills. There are times, however, when saying yes does more harm than good.
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