Hey fellow managers and leaders,
It wouldn’t make sense to send today’s newsletter without addressing the events that have taken place in the last couple of weeks.
The Fellow team stands in solidarity with our Black community members, partners, friends, and neighbours — and all those repeatedly affected by systemic racism.
For the past two weeks, we’ve been working to educate ourselves on the topic of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we commit to continue learning and using our platform to amplify the voices of Black leaders and managers.
We encourage you to take a look at some of these resources and let us know if there’s a Black leader or community member you think should be featured in our channels.
TLDR: According to Melissa Thomas-Hunt (Airbnb’s Head of Global Diversity and Belonging), managers are at the front line of cultural change. They’re the ones with the power to hire a more diverse workforce and make employees feel safe to contribute their perspectives.
“Managers can use their status to provide growth opportunities to Black workers through committed sponsorship efforts and by communicating their value – including their expertise, potential, and accomplishments – to others.”
4 things your Black employees and coworkers wish you knew – and how you should offer allyship and support
TLDR: In this article for Business Insider, Khalil Smith encourages managers to educate themselves on the Black experience in America and acknowledge that racism isn’t something new. He also emphasizes the importance of being empathetic about the fact that Black employees may be having a tough time staying focused.
“It’s tough to work right now. In addition to dealing with the disproportionate rates of death in the Black community as a result of COVID-19, we’ve been dealing with sudden societal awareness and associated shock. It’s a lot to process, so a bit of grace goes a long way.”
TLDR: Research by Harvard Business Review shows that diversity and inclusion directly enhance team performance. But simply throwing a mix of people together doesn’t guarantee great results. It requires leaders that show awareness of personal blind spots, demonstrate deep curiosity about others, and speak up about the importance of diversity.
“Seek feedback on whether you are perceived as inclusive, especially from people who are different from you. This will help you to see your blind spots, strengths, and development areas. It will also signal that diversity and inclusion are important to you.”
TLDR: We sat down with Kelly Gonzales (KeepTruckin’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) to discuss the importance of empathy and personal connection in leadership. She recommends hosting intersectionality roundtables and meetings where employees talk about how their identity impacts them in their workplace.
“Personally, I think I’ve just been asking a lot more questions about how people are feeling and sharing my own vulnerability. Sometimes I’ll start with: ‘Here are the things that are working and here are the things that I’m struggling with and here are the mistakes that I’ve made’ and allow for psychological safety in a team. That generally gets people to open up.”