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April 20, 2021 17 min

We often hear companies talk about investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But what do those terms really mean? And how can we as managers support DEI regardless of how our organization is approaching it?

In this episode, I share my definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion, and allyship. I explain some of the fundamentals so you can cultivate an inclusive and equitable environment in which all team members thrive.

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Read the related blog article: How Managers Can Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion In The Workplace


Key Takeaways:

  • All the ways that individuals differ can be considered an aspect of diversity. Diversity can be visible or invisible, things we’re born with or acquired over time, and inherent in us or by association.  
  • Diversity is also about how specific groups of people have been privileged or marginalized historically and across cultures.
  • Intersectionality describes how the complex parts of a person come together in ways that compound privilege or marginalization.
  • Equity is about removing barriers to full participation, correcting for systemic obstacles, and providing everyone a truly fair opportunity.
  • Inclusion is about creating an environment where people feel comfortable to be their authentic self without feeling like they need to code-switch or adjust to fit in.
  • Being an ally is about taking on the struggles of the oppressed as your own. Its an ongoing journey that includes making mistakes and learning from them.
  • When someone speaks up to let you know your actions or behaviors are not inclusive or equitable, respond as an ally would by centering the impacted, listening and learning, apologizing even though you didn’t intend it, and stopping the pattern. 
  • Feelings of guilt, defensiveness, anger and conflict avoidance can lead us to respond in unhelpful ways, including centering yourself, denying that other’
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