Working inclusively - Lesson 5: your reflections


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CIPD Staff

17 Jan, 2020 10:57

Welcome to the online community learning space for the lesson: Working across functions and disciplines. Use this forum to discuss the community reflective activity in the lesson. Read the contributions of others, ‘liking’ those you find helpful and add your unique reflections to the conversation by replying to this post. Click here to return to the lesson page at any time.

Community reflective activity:
How do you create an open-minded and non-judgmental environment to allow others to demonstrate the value they can bring to your area of expertise? 

  • To create an open-minded atmosphere:

    • Management shall invite for suggestions and opinions of employees and employees has to recognize this fact. This should be part of company culture.
    • Management shall ensure mechanisms for the above are available and such concerns and discussed and actions taken timely
    • People need to feel they are respected at work. They have their SAY at work.
    • When people felt they are valued, they automatically come with an open mind.

    To create a non-judgmental environment

    • The leaders shall act as effective / master facilitators which makes people focus on topic they were talking; but not on the person who is giving the idea.
    • Appropriate leadership creates and sustains a non-judgmental environment. 
  • The key is modelling the behaviour for me from the start, with repetition of it building & sustaining the momentum for that culture to thrive; introducing new starters to that environment quickly instils it as a norm. It shouldn’t be confined to one area of the business either & needs to be universal, a core value of the business in terms of collaboration & conduct
  • For me, I believe the structure and facilitation plays a huge role in creating an open-minded and on-judgement environment. Providing topics for discussion in advance allows people to reflect on what ides they could bring to the conversation. Asking people to research the subject area and come up with a number of ideas that they can share during the meeting. Allowing time for everybody to be able to speak and put their ideas across without comments or criticism. The onus is on the facilitator of the meeting to ensure everyone has their opportunity, free from judgement and responses are open-minded and positive.
  • Open minded and non judgemental environments can be achieved by demonstrating that there are no bad ideas to bring to the table. Each idea can be positively discussed with the rest of the team, the language used to encourage challenge should be positive and reasoning as to why certain actions are or are not taken should be shared. It is important to set these boundaries prior to commencing any project meetings.

    Personally, I would allow the team time to prepare in the area I wanted to discuss in advance, and advise them that I wanted them to provide one idea, and then one pro and one con for each other idea that is brought.

    That way, each person knows firstly that their contribution is expected, and secondly that if they don't agree, it is expected of them to try to challenge why an idea might not work and so fear of being seen negatively is removed. This also flips it over and also encourages people to postively review ideas that are different from their own. Once each idea is reviewed in this way, it is likely to present a range of solutions that can be tailored to suit the need.

    If delivering an initiative/idea myself, the language used to encourage people to share their thoughts should be very open and allowing of a response. I've said it before but "Any questions?" doesnt actually invite questions, as people dont want to be seen to be away from the crowd or being difficult. Asking people to help me understand what I may have missed? How this might affect anyone else I have not covered etc is open ended and allows for further discussion.