134 – Beat Gender Bias in your workplace with Karen Morley
Executive Coach Dr. Karen Morley’s second appearance on the TeamGuru podcast expands on the compelling themes that made the first required listening. She is the perfect listen for team leaders seeking to maximize their resources by emphasizing inclusion. Her latest book ¨Beat Gender Bias¨ highlights less obvious workplace dynamics that can prevent otherwise capable women from flourishing in the office environment, as well as outlining concrete strategies for women seeking to establish themselves as leadership candidates.
The Best of Everyone
A seemingly obvious but often underappreciated element of inclusion is unlocking the full potential of your team. Every fully engaged mind working toward the shared goals of your organization expands your pool of ideas. Enabling team members to consistently show the best of themselves allows their colleagues to appreciate the collection of talent surrounding them. And the way to create this kind of self-sustaining atmosphere of innovation is by ensuring that everyone in the office is as comfortable and confident as possible.
What Does Sexism Look Like?
While many of us would like to think of ourselves as fair and egalitarian in matters of gender equality, the fact is that there are many ingrained biases that limit the perception of women as equals. Even Dr. Morley herself has fallen victim to these insidious prejudices. She recounts subconsciously passing judgement on a female pilot based on her physical stature. This is a powerful reminder that practically none of us are immune from the influences of sexism, and so awareness is an indispensable tool in limiting its impact.
Are Your Angles Incongruent?
Dr. Morley holds up the idea of congruence as central to eradicating sexism and its effects from the way we operate on an everyday basis. Each of us has an idea of how we would like to be perceived, and so it is important to ensure our actions in practice line up with our theoretical beliefs. Do your words line up with your thoughts? Do your actions reflect your ideas? Do you allow clearly prejudiced ideas to pass unchallenged in conversation with others? Culture change requires like-minded people, and it starts with you agreeing with you.
Sweeping the Minefield
What can appear as a casual environment to male professionals can present constant hostility to female colleagues. Ground rules surrounding appropriate conduct and conversation may not be firmly established, and the results can include awkward moments and lasting emotional scars. Dr. Morley stresses that an atmosphere in which women are classified as ¨The Other¨ both limits their integration into the group dynamic and negatively affects the team’s overall potential by denying the collective their full individual talents.
The People We Mean to Be
Sensitive subjects such as these can create undue trepidation and resentment, and at times this can stem from holding ourselves to an impossible standard. For Dr. Morley, self-improvement is a process, and this means that good is more of a spectrum than an absolute. This means that instead of aiming to be perfect (and feeling frustration when we inevitably fail) we should focus our energies on being better representatives of ourselves and the world we hope to live in whenever we have the opportunity to do so.