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Managers need to employ this first-step analysis re company discrimination

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2021 | Federal Employment Law

Management, fix yourself first.

That is the prescription offered up by a Forbes contributor who writes on business topics relevant to employer-worker interactions and workplace dynamics.

More specifically, notes Mark Murphy, business leaders should never seek to implement discrimination-fighting strategies before first understanding what workers most commonly fear.

That is this: management itself.

To be precise, Murphy stresses that legions of business principals must learn to “listen to employees’ concerns about discrimination without blame or defensiveness.”

Reportedly, relatively few of them are capable of doing that. Consequently, high numbers of disgruntled workers internalize their concerns and realized harms and simply quit their jobs at some point without any advance notice of their grievances to managers.

That reality spells reciprocal adversity. Good workers quit, and companies’ bottom lines are repeatedly harmed by problems that don’t get identified and fixed.

Murphy says that business leaders too often craft prematurely jumbled and improperly focused plans to ameliorate problems without an actual ability to really listen without quick judgment to workers’ concerns. They often “tie themselves into knots trying to figure out how to solve discrimination and increase diversity and inclusion.”

The problem with that is this: Those strategies are toothless without meaningful employee input, and that will never be forthcoming if workers perceive management defensiveness concerning complaints/concerns.

Murphy’s recipe for success – or at least material improvement – is simple enough. It mandates a bit of instruction to company managers that must precede concrete proposals for anti-discriminatory outcomes. In a nutshell, it merely requires “teaching leaders how to listen to uncomfortable truths without defensiveness.”

Good leaders can do that. Managers who can’t will continue to interact with workers in problematic workplace environments.


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