CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS: 6 STEPS TO DISCUSS RACE RELATIONS WITH YOUR TEAM
Today, we want to start by saying this. Plainly and simply.
There is no place for racism in our daily lives and our culture.
Each of us has a different experience of racism in our lives, depending on where we live, how we grew up, and what our daily lives look like today. As direct sales and network marketers, it’s essential to know that one out of every ten of our team members is African American. None of us has the opportunity to ignore the issue.
To move us all forward, we must be genuinely open to all conversations. For team leaders, that means proactively encouraging discussion. To help, we wanted to share a shortlist of ways to engage in and inspire dialogue around race relations with your team.
- Start with yourself. Read a recommended book about the issue or watch a free viewing of Just Mercy, a major motion picture film about a civil rights attorney. Follow leaders on social media to learn about people’s perspectives and read various news outlets that are reporting on the happenings. Being informed is step one.
- Proactively bring up the subject. Make sure your team knows that you are open to a conversation, and willing to entertain opinions.
- Ask Questions. Instead of assuming someone’s perspective, ask questions, and listen. These can be challenging conversations, but if you listen, affirm, and ask more questions, you can avoid those conversations that look like a social media argument gone wrong.
- Make a list of resources you like and share it with your team. Compile a list of a few articles, interview clips, or organizations that are interesting to you. You can share it as a resource for others to explore.
- Join social media movements. If you choose to be public about your thoughts, research what group most aligns with your feelings, and begin to share their posts on your social media.
- Make a donation together. If, as a team, you agree on a cause to support, join together, and make a donation.
- When disagreements happen, listen, and affirm. Your goal is to learn something from even the most challenging conversation. If you’re guiding a conversation among your team, focus each person’s response on learning and asking questions, rather than proving their stance is right. Take a listen to this TED Talk about the value one student found in listening to the other side.
What is the bottom line? We cannot ignore the meaningful conversation happening in the world today. Nor should we. And, we do not need to all respond in the same way. So, as a first step, leading your team, open the door for dialogue. Few of us are experts at this work, but all of us have a responsibility to be a part of it.