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Cancel Culture in the Workplace: How to Manage It!

empathy and expectations

We recently had a client that came to us for DEIAB training. The CEO said, "We just completed DEIAB training and it was a disaster, it created more harm than good." Naturally, we asked why and to elaborate further. They said, "A team member in the training expressed his religious views ands beliefs around sexual orientation and the facilitator didn't say anything...Now the majority of the team want him fired! Help, he's my best team member and I know he meant no harm, but a lot of team members want him gone!"

This my friends, is a solid display of cancel culture in the workplace! Opposing opinions around religious beliefs, equality, sexual orientation, the list goes on...has crept it's way into the workplace, and isn't going anywhere anytime soon! Especially with the election coming up!

So what do we do about this and how do we protect workplace culture while allowing ALL individuals to be true to their values and beliefs.

Imagine a workplace where every mistake, misstep, or miscommunication becomes an opportunity for growth. It's a place where employees aren't condemned but rather empowered through guidance, mentorship, and meaningful discussions.

This is what the team at Rise Up For You call teachable moments!

It cultivates continuous improvement, nurturing a culture where employees feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them.

Teachable moments prioritize education over punishment. They're about understanding the root causes of an issue, offering constructive feedback, and providing the necessary tools for employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. This approach not only improves individual performance but also contributes to the overall growth and success of the organization.

On the other side of the coin, cancel culture can stifle meaningful dialogue, discourage personal growth, and inadvertently breed a culture of fear. It's crucial to recognize the difference between accountability and retribution and to ensure that the actions are forward moving versus canceling.

The key to finding common ground lies in balancing teaching moments and accountability, fostering a workplace environment that champions growth, respect, and open dialogue. Here are some essential steps to achieve this balance:

  1. Embrace Constructive Conversations: Encourage open discussions about mistakes, biases, and misunderstandings. Create spaces where employees can learn from one another's experiences.

  2. Provide Resources: Ensure employees have access to resources, workshops, and training that promote diversity, inclusion, and cultural sensitivity. This empowers them to become better informed and equipped to avoid future pitfalls.

  3. Empower Mentors: Designate mentors or experienced team members who can guide others, share their knowledge, and provide valuable insights when challenges arise.

  4. Establish Clear Guidelines: Define the boundaries of acceptable behavior within the workplace, ensuring everyone understands the expectations and consequences.

  5. Lead by Example: As leaders, set the tone for the organization. Demonstrate vulnerability, acknowledge your own mistakes, and show how you've learned and grown from them.

In the complex landscape of the modern workplace, teachable moments must take the place of cancel culture. By combining the accountability aspects of cancel culture with the growth and learning opportunities of teaching moments, organizations can foster an environment where individuals are held responsible for their actions while being empowered to learn, evolve, and contribute positively.

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Want to learn more about how soft skills and leadership coaching, training, and development can support your team and company? Grab an informative call here with the Rise Up For You, SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP team.

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