Workplace Conflict isn't normal, it is a result of a DEI values deficit.
I have observed that many folks think DEI( Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) initiatives are about getting more "minorities" in their organization/ team. (I'm not too fond of that word, but that is a topic for another article). Others seek to use their initiatives to gain awareness and demonstrate social sensitivity. Though well-meaning, these motives illustrate a lack of awareness around why focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion is beneficial and necessary to every part of your organization's functions. The heart of DEI efforts is not to optically or theoretically transform organizations. It is to identify, apply and practice social values that will strengthen and transform how we live and work with anyone and everyone. It isn't something we should do in addition to our work. It is a set of necessary values at the core of all human interaction. It is how we reach our highest potential as humanity.
The purpose of DEI initiatives is to:
Learn about social inequities in the workplace.
Commit to a deep dive review of policies and procedures where we have failed to use diversity, equity, and inclusion as a part of our ethical systems within the workplace.
Be actionable and intentional about creating new systems that include DEI values in our work and culture as we move forward.
Your DEI initiative should be an intentional and conscious commitment to infuse the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in every part of your organization. It is a commitment to a holistic, intellectual, emotional, and physical transformation of how you work, serve and exist.
Your DEI initiative is an opportunity to review where the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are missing from our social practices and work systems. It is about taking responsibility to evaluate and disintegrate old systems of inequity and integrate systems of equality within the workplace, society, and ourselves.
We often treat and think of workplace conflict as a regular workplace occurrence. A recent study found that 85% of employees deal with conflict in their work, costing U.S. companies an estimated $359 billion annually. Workplace conflict results from a DEI values deficit. Viewing workplace conflict with a DEI lens provides deeper insight into the solution. When we learn to fully embody DEI/ social equality values and practice them with integrity, most workplace conflicts will transform into opportunities for deeper workplace collaboration.
There are five common workplace conflicts: Leadership Conflicts, Creative Conflicts, Workstyle Conflicts, Personality Conflicts, and Task-based Conflicts. Out of the five, four of them are very blatant results of a DEI values deficit. Currently, the response to workplace conflict is reactionary. We can continue to create systems that address workplace conflicts as they occur, or we can be proactive in our approach by reviewing work systems that commonly suffer from DEI deficits. Doing this will provide your team with opportunities and tools to practice the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in ways that will create a durable solution for workplace conflict, improving workplace culture.
There will be more about how building and embodying DEI values into your organization's culture can transform workplace conflict into collaboration. So check back for updates, and please share this article with a friend.
Standing In Unity,
Pamela Gray Daniel