PandoLogic is dedicated to amplifying the voices and stories of diverse communities. “We all learn best through stories,” says Adam D. Blum, MFT, founder of the Gay Therapy Center, the largest private therapy provider for the LGBTQ+ community in the US. So as part of our mission to promote diversity and allyship, we held the first of two lectures centered around the stories and experiences of marginalized groups.
Our first story came from Alex Maghen, SVP of Digital Product & Engineering at Warner Bros. Entertainment. Alex is a proud father of twin boys, co-hosts a podcast, Daddy Squared, with his husband Yanir, and has experienced a spectrum of responses to being an openly gay man in the workplace. Alex was kind enough to share with the PandoLogic team his personal experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace, highlighting for us the differences between supportive work environments vs. non-supportive while educating us on how to be better allies.
Here’s what we learned from Alex:
“Diversity is not about sameness”
This seems obvious. Of course, diversity isn’t about uniformity. Diversity stands as the antithesis of “sameness”. But Alex was candid during his lecture. He noted that diversity exists even within marginalized groups so it would be unfair and inaccurate to speak on behalf of an entire community.
The beauty of diversity is that we are all different but that shouldn’t change the way we are treated. So, as you cultivate a more inclusive environment for your employees or coworkers, the most important action you can take is simply asking questions. Create a comforting space by asking colleagues for their preferences or needs. Diversity isn’t authentic without equity or inclusion.
It’s important to note that, as Alex mentioned, you may make some mistakes on the road toward true equity. But if you’re truly interested in the well-being of others and come from a place of thoughtfulness, then there’s nothing that can’t be worked through.
Addressing conflicts in the workplace
With mistakes comes the occasional conflict. No one wants to deal with it but it’s necessary to prepare for it should it ever arise. Conflict in the workplace needs to be handled with care. Alex expressed gratitude regarding some past experiences at work. He felt lucky enough to have been supported through his conflict. He took some time to note what he thought were best practices:
- Talk through it: Everyone just wants to be heard. Cultivating a space where people can just talk through what they’ve experienced and how they feel about a certain event is half the battle.
- Focus on behavior: Steer conversations away from personality assessments. Rather, focus on the behavior that led to the conflict and find ways to address it together.
- Make policies known to the whole organization: If an employee has violated a policy, without naming names, announce the wrongdoing and set a precedent in your org. Say it loud and clear, disrespect will not be tolerated. Hopefully, that will put an end to any future issues.
- Enlist the Executive team: HR can’t do it alone. It’s important that HR write policies to ensure your team feels supported, but the Executive team needs to help enforce those policies every day. Work together to advocate for your LGBTQ+ employees.
We were so grateful to Alex for taking the time to educate our team on how to create safe spaces for our LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues. Keep an eye out for part two of our Storytelling With Pride series!