The topic of diversity has weighed heavily on many minds in the last couple of years. The publicized struggles of many marginalized groups have brought to light just how little we really know about each other. Through their passion and commitment, advocates of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are helping to increase awareness of the unconscious biases that inform our views about people due to their race, skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, culture and more.
In business, companies are rightly setting goals around making workplaces more inclusive. During my own DEI certification program earlier this year, I was amazed to learn how I, as an Asian-American woman, had learned many accepted norms primarily from a white male-centric perspective, especially in business culture and my current area of expertise, emotional intelligence.
What does this mean from a practical standpoint, and how can a leader land this concept in their organization? The guiding principle is empathy. The way we empathize is by hearing stories. Stories are powerful because they build bridges that connect us with another through emotion.
Gerri Sapinoso Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an emotional intelligence leadership coach and founder of Vision Bridge Leadership (www.bridgetoabetterway.com), which serves organizations with skill-building in emotional intelligence areas like mindfulness, self-awareness, self-management and relationship management through compassionate communication and influence. Sapinoso Hudson is a certified executive coach and certified teacher with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.