Championing diversity and inclusivity

By Shane Lutkin, Positive Ei
I consider myself to be a modern person who is categorically not prejudiced or intolerant. Thus, I include diversity and inclusion in my core beliefs. I created over two thousand years of employment in my former business life, so I’ve dealt with many people.
Published in Norfolk Director Magazine Autumn|Winter 2022
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Positive Emotional Intelligence

In my present professional life as a psychologist and life-work balance consultant, I offer absolute positive regard to my clients. But holistically, do I have a diverse and inclusive outlook? Am I affected by unconscious bias? The answer is probably yes, a little bit. But I think I am respectful and humble enough to confess to my mistakes, reframe, rephrase and move on. I believe that mistakes are an undeniable part of being a human being, and perfection doesn’t exist as a paradigm.

In the Middle English language, used for roughly 300 years from around 1150 to around 1450, ‘dyversite’ meant difference, separateness, variety, condition of being different and having a difference of opinion. Today, diversity is about empowering people by recognising and appreciating what makes them distinctive in terms of age, gender, sexual orientation, education, ethnicity, religion, disability and national origin.

Bernard Marr, a noted strategic business advisor to governments and companies who helps organisations improve their business performance, recently talked about key elements in business:

“Leadership, human judgment, complex decision-making, collaboration and team-working, digital threat awareness, awareness of issues of ethics, culture, and diversity.”
Bernard Marr, Forbes, 15 June 2022

So, what to do?

One could say, read up and learn about every diverse facet of every different group of people, and then we’ll be fine. That’s all great, but incredibly time-consuming and probably impossible. Also, not every person of a specific sex, religion, ethnicity or educational background has the same universal thoughts. In fact, having spent thousands of working hours listening to how people’s minds work, I would suggest that every human being has a different view on virtually everything. Thus, making general assumptions is probably a mistake as well.

The basic concept of accepting everyone you work with as a unique human being, becoming aware of them to the best of your ability and then accepting the differences your awareness has uncovered, might be a good start. All organisations need distinctive methods and systems. Often idiosyncratic personal frames of reference need to take a diplomatic back seat. Usually, tolerant people accept differences in work colleagues once they get to know them and see their true value to the organisation and as a person.

An organisation’s culture comes from the top; morals, principles, and ethics also emanate from the leaders. Obtaining positive emotional intelligence and thus becoming a better leader is achievable. If we are to take Bernard Marr’s key markers seriously and improve the efficacy of our organisations, some investment in our self-development, overall awareness and work-life balance may just pay off on several levels.

Championing diversity and inclusivity 1

Shane Lutkin has a Master’s degree in Psychotherapy and the theory of personality and is lead consultant at the life optimisation organisation Positive Emotional Intelligence.

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