The only one in organization and frustrated

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The only one in organization and frustrated

QUESTION: How might you coach someone who is the only one in the organization and they’re exhausted?

ANSWER: I bet some of you all can relate. And, no one else is really stepping up and they keep getting more requests. It’s not their job, but this is someone in an apparent minoritized identity, they have some pretty good capacity around equity inclusion and they’re like, “What do I do?”

So, I have a couple of initial thoughts:

You will keep getting asked/used for these one-off trainings until (a) you say no or (b) the organization feels enough pressure that they need to do something else. So, I would encourage you to think about how to increase the pressure in the organization which you could do in several ways.

One is, you could review the recent survey data from employees and the customers you serve and see if there’s anything in there about climate, satisfaction, the need for greater cultural competencies in leadership as well as employees. You can also go talk to the folks that are doing HR and just generally see what the climate and the culture is like.  This is how you can find out  if there is anything – not specific examples – but some patterns that would be useful for for leadership to know about around climate culture dissatisfaction.

Another approach is to talk to your leaders about:

  1. What are the competencies that they think people currently have
  2. What are the competencies they want people to have to better serve the increasingly diverse clients/customers you serve while also creating an inclusive work environment.

And then, you can ask them, “On a scale of zero (not at all) to ten (completely), where do you currently think people are?” Follow-up with asking, “Is there any way that we can assess this?” Maybe you can talk with supervisors about what dilemmas that they run into? As well as some of the difficult situations employees talk about.

I have a tool that I call the Self-Assessment for Inclusion Practitioners that might be useful. Some people send that out to their entire department to have people reflect back;

  1. Here are my current skills
  2. Here’s where I want to be
  3. Here are my gaps.

What you want is any kind of assessment that could help build the “leadership case”, i.e., the case for why more resources are needed, either investing in building your capacity, or doing a train-a-trainer to get more people equipped to deliver training. So you’re not the only one (or one among a few) who are doing this as a second or third job beyond your other daily functions and responsibilities.

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