Diversity and inclusion have now become trendy, with companies talking about how to measure it and track the progress being made.
But while there's so much focus on the numbers, companies are missing a key point – diversity and inclusion is a human thing, not a numbers thing! And for most people numbers don’t inspire them to change their habits.
What inspires us to make changes are people and their stories, because change is a heart led thing. And let’s be honest, numbers don’t touch our hearts, and I say that from experience having been a finance person in a former life!
Storytelling is an age-old and powerful way of teaching and communicating. People connect far more deeply and authentically when they can identify themselves in other people’s stories, and especially when the struggles of being part of a marginalised, minority group become real for them.
One of the most transformative tools for change is empathy – the ability to stand in another person's shoes and see the world through their eyes. But we cannot get to a place of empathy if people aren’t encouraged to share their personal stories first.
There’s an important order of play when it comes to sharing stories – employees go first! Leaders need to be in a listening role so they can understand what reality looks like for their team.
Once leaders have really listened and have been able to develop empathy and understanding for their people, then they should be authentic and share their stories, including ones of privilege and struggle. It’s this combination of listening and then sharing from the heart that invites and encourages teams to come on an inspiring journey with their leader.
The bottom line is this – people crave authenticity and messages and stories shared from the heart. When you create this dynamic between leaders and teams, you’ll start to see genuine and lasting change with people’s habits around diversity and inclusivity.
If you’re wondering how you can create an environment where people feel safe to open up and share their stories, reverse mentoring can help. Get in touch and let’s talk about how, with this mentoring style, I can support you.