Join Pat Wadors for an in-depth discussion in this video Reinforce the story using other leaders, part of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
- There's so many ways, when you are enlightened to the need to belong, that it starts cropping up in your everyday life. These are moments that you can give peer to peer, to a stranger who's sitting alone. Say good morning, look them in the eye. And as a manager, profound impact of how you say welcome to our team. Not my team, our team. Like the words you use, the grace in which you ensure that every voice is heard. Those things matter.
And I remember one time, about a year ago, we were talking about the dynamics between gender and ethnicity in a meeting. And how people in a high performing, extroverted environment, how voices can be shut down unintentionally, unaware, unconsciously. But what should we do? Can we see it; can we stop it in the moment? And so we had a session with these leaders, specifically in R&D, and said about women in tack, and how do you make sure their voices are heard.
And we were giving them feedback. We're speaking over these women, we're not giving them a fair enough voice. We're not asking them their opinion even. We're not doing the following, X, Y, and Z. And I'd say 70% of the people listening were , "Alright, I can see that. "I kind of think back and go, that happened here or there." But there were a few leaders go, "Pfft, that's not my team. "Tell me who you spoke to, 'cause I know my group. "These are not the women in my team." Very much in denial.
And the CTO left the meeting. And he was on the fence. He kind of saw it, but didn't really internalize it yet. You can tell when someone internalizes a profound moment. And we left the meeting around 1:00 pm. 2:00 pm they had a product review with engineering and product. He's in this room; Kevin's in the room. There's probably 30 people around this large room. And a young female engineer starts speaking up. And she gets spoken over, so she sits back.
She tries again. And now Kevin is keyed in on her, because he just had this session. So now his brain is really wired to look for signals like this. He sees it happening in his meeting. He's stunned. Never thought this occurred. And then paused the room and said, "Wait a minute I want to hear what Shelly has to say." And he leaned in, and Shelly verbalized whatever she wanted to say. It changed the direction of some of the conversation. It was very good feedback. And the tone in the meeting shifted for others as well because they stopped talking over peer to peer.
Just changed the niceness, the kindness of the room; not as competitive. And Kevin sat back and said, "It does happen. "I saw it happen. "And I wasn't looking for it, now I will." And so he wrote a note to me and our CEO. And he goes, "I know we had this session with Pat. "I went in the next meeting, and it occurred. "It was like right there. "Like oh my goodness, right there. "And thank you for making me aware. "Thank you for holding up the mirror." And I'm like, "Right on." I was super thrilled. Two hours later, he writes back and says to Jeff and I, "Shelly wrote to me, this email, thanking me "for giving her the space to talk.
"And she wasn't sure she would fit in at this company. "But now she's super loyal and super engaged. "And she was on the fence, but forever more "this moment was a profound career moment for her." And thanked him for that moment. And he goes, "This has changed her opinion of the company; "it's changed me as a leader." That's what holding up a mirror does. That's what giving people a belonging moment does. This is what makes us human. So I get asked a lot about, "Hey my company doesn't even talk about belonging, "what can I do? "Do I have to get my CEO to do this? "Is this from top down? "What's the secret sauce?" And I just say it's about you, right.
If I'm talking to an audience, how many of you are managers? Raise your hand. If you're a manger, you have a chance to impact how many lives in your team everyday by changing your behaviors, your words, to create those belonging moments, and share your story with your team about when you fit in, when you rocked your swag, when you had that moment of safety. So you can change today. Don't wait for someone's permission to be a better leader, to be a better human. And start the ground swell. Once you experience it, once you model it, once your team sees it, and they pollinate other teams, it becomes part of the DNA of a healthy company.
And I don't think you need permission to be great.