Creating Safe Workplaces

Creating Safe Workplaces

A lot is being talked about workplace diversity & inclusion in terms of understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, sexual orientations, in education, personalities, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge bases. It has brought in the understanding that the fundamental basis of inclusion is seeing people as individuals and not genders. This changes the entire paradigm of how to build inclusive workplaces and introduces the concept of safety. Safety here refers to elements of psychological and emotional safety that allow a person to feel belonged enough to come back to and empowered enough to excel. An important underpinning here is building interaction safety’. Interaction safety is an environment created through intentional actions and behaviors that encourages reasonable risk-taking and idea-sharing and that creates an inclusive, collaborative workplace.

Having worked with multiple sectors and organizations in my last 30 years, I have come to agree with and be inspired by Michael Kimmel’s statement that Privilege is Invisible. Though we may try to treat everyone as equal without a specific gender lens, but interactions are tainted by unconscious and conscious elements of individual beliefs, biases and hierarchies. It is hence, important to have one’s own self check measures in place and reflect on our past experiences and
environment to identify which behaviors and which people have made us feel safe and free to interact.

Middle Line

Here are some strategies that you can adopt to make interactions safer for your team members & other leaders:

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