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To Be More Inclusive... Pause Your Rebuttal Brain

It’s no secret that today’s workplaces are more diverse than ever. People from all walks of life with all sorts of backgrounds and experiences make up the workforce in most organizations.

Sadly, though, just because you have a diverse workforce doesn’t mean you have a respectful workplace where inclusion is routinely practiced and every employee is equally and fully utilized.

Sometimes an organization’s culture — or biases held on the part of some within the organization — discount the input of certain team members. And when that happens, low morale, poor results, and charges of workplace discrimination can follow.

But workplace diversity doesn’t have to cause problems. In fact, it’s just the opposite. A diverse work team where everyone is able to fully contribute is typically more successful long term than a team where everyone thinks the same and settles for the status quo.

So, in addition to ensuring that your workplace welcomes diversity, make sure all employees are given the chance to contribute and that they understand the importance of letting others do the same.

Being more inclusive really comes down to respecting others enough to listen to what they have to say…and at least consider their ideas. So, share these inclusion-building tips with your staff.

1. Turn OFF your Rebuttal Brain 

A Rebuttal Brain is something we all have, and unfortunately, we all use it.

Have you ever caught yourself immediately disregarding or judging your colleagues’ ideas as soon as they open their mouth?

Turn off those defensive or argumentative responses. Turn off your Rebuttal Brain.
And instead, try to…

2. Ask Questions

Asking questions is a great way to respectfully engage with and involve others. By using the W.E.T. test you can ask effective questions that will help you determine if someone else’s ideas will “hold water”. These are the W.E.T. Test questions:

W: How would your idea WORK?
E: Could you give me an EXAMPLE?
T: Can we TEST your idea?

Here is an example of what this could look like:

Greg: I have an idea I think could effectively improve ____.
Amy: That’s great! How would your idea WORK?
Greg: Well, instead of ____we would do ____.
Amy: Interesting. Could you give me an EXAMPLE?
Greg: Yes, in the case of ____it would look like this.
Amy: That does sound pretty good, Greg. Can we TEST your idea somehow?
Greg: We could test it by doing ____.

Amy easily could have disregarded Greg and his ideas. But she chose to listen, ask questions, and include Greg. And who knows, maybe Greg’s ideas will help.

When you turn off your rebuttal brain, listen, and ask effective questions, you take the first steps in creating a more inclusive workplace where everyone can have a voice.



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For the most effective video-based training or eLearning on building an inclusive workplace (along with overcoming bias and preventing harassment and bullying) see Media Partners’ 9-time award-winning program
How Was Your Day? Getting Real about Bias, Inclusion, Harassment and Bullying.