Taking part in the PlaceShapers "Diverse Voices, One Year On" session today at the annual conference, it was powerful to hear the recurring themes from the speakers about how we can all learn more by listening, engaging and pressing into the key issues surrounding diversity and inclusion. I discovered these helpful synopses of the Diverse Voices sessions that were run over the year but it really hit home hearing the reflections from Mushtaq Khan, Sandra Skeete, Angela Lockwood and Josh Salt as the facilitators of the various sessions. The two key messages I personally walked away with were:
- Showing vulnerability as a leader, is an absolute must if we are to ever expect our staff to open up and talk about their experiences of being marginalised or experiencing bias - it is highly personal, and we need to have a trusting environment
- Practising and displaying empathy enables us to genuinely put ourselves in others' shoes and only then will we start to understand the impact of behaviours
Reviewing our own ACS ED&I plans, I was encouraged to see updates to our anti-bullying & harassment policy with full staff training, our revised flexible working policy and our new menopause policy. We're also celebrating a wider range of diversity events and producing a series of disabilities podcasts.
But, after the session, I feel there is still more we should be doing as an organisation, a community and as a society. Which is why I echo Matthew Walker's wise words from yesterday: "I'm pleased but I'm not satisfied."
‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way’ – John Maxwell