This week has been…. challenging 🙂 If you’ll forgive the corporate doublespeak. 😉 The web hosting for Chameleons was moved mid last week and while the hosting company did an excellent job of migrating both the site and forum, some gremlins got in. That resulted in two long telephone calls last weekend to tech support (who were very helpful). Luckily, no data was lost, which is good. However, I could’ve done without the stress. Also, the Ever Lovely Mrs J fell poorly late Thursday night and that’s really not like her. Luckily Val was on hand to step in and keep the evening going for Chams (thanks Mrs ❤️). A good night’s kip has helped Mrs J, although she’s still not quite 100%, bless her. So, yeah, a few too many rocks in the stress bucket this week.
Talking of stress, Diane posted a link to a BBC News story about how LGBTQ+ people are treated at work and there’s links to recent studies in the UK. While we have come on a long way as a society, the reports show we’ve some way to go.
For example, there’s this….
Forty percent of LGB+ workers and 55% of trans workers have experienced such conflict, compared with 29% of heterosexual, cisgender employees.CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development)
… and this:
Where 35% of LGBT+ people hide who they are at work for fear of discrimination – and two in five haven’t told anyone about being bi at work – we are in a situation where the government does need to step in.Robbie de Santos, Stonewall
I think there’s a few sides to this. Firstly, if people at your place of work are not being treated with respect, I would ask is that okay? I think you could argue that’s the moral case of do the right thing so people are treated fairly.
I think there’s also a money and a productivity aspect. People who are worried about things, as in perceived or actual, well, that concern saps their strength. It’s yet another thing to have to carry in your head and it pushes work aside. The result is people are less efficient. Not because they’re lazy, useless, or a ‘snowflake’.
I, and I dare say a number of us, have worked for organisations – and to be polite 😉 – the experience could have been better. What did a lot of us do? Leave at the first chance we got. The expertise in our heads walked straight out of the door….. and quite possibly into a competitor’s. Hmm…. This feels a bit self defeatist for a company doesn’t it? 🤔
If the organisational culture is particularly bad, it’s not just the productivity of staff churn that hits hard: so is the money making. At a brutal level, there’s being sued. You may also find managers and leaders are tied up in investigative work and while they’re doing that, yup, they ain’t working on the stuff you employed them to do! 🙂
So is this an LGBTQ thing? I would argue no. In my passing myself off as a middle class, cisgender, heterosexual bloke (I’m also white, which is another privilege), I’ve witnessed a few ‘isms’ over the years at previous employers: sexism, racism, ageism, etc. My experience is the disrespect starts off like an infection. It starts small but grows after picking on easy targets: often women, LGBTQ folk, or people of colour. When there’s no push back to stop bad behaviour, the infection grows, moving on to affect ‘others’. Others as in anyone deemed different. Left unchecked, well, you’ve seen the above negatives and worse case outcomes. If you decide to tolerate a certain level of discrimination, it’ll be a long term malaise that will affect morale through the organisation and that’ll cost you good people, money, and time.
Hmmm. 🤔 If I put my coaching hat on, what do we need to make things happen? Oh yes, people, money, and time. 😉
If that’s the impact of such behaviours, what is the way out of that? Well, anti discrimination policies can help, but rules are not enough on their own. For change to take place, you need to change how certain folk think about working with others and how they think about anyone who isn’t just like them. Unconscious Bias workshops can assist with that, but this is only part of the fix. The other element is changing the system so that discrimination can’t re-establish a hold on your organisation. That may mean going into What’s Okay discussions, letting people challenge negative behaviours, and empowering folk to feel okay to do so.
On a personal note, I’m not out at work because of privacy for my family. I am, however, curious about how being – to use a modern phrase 🙂 – being my authentic self might change work. Not just for me, but also my relationship between colleagues. When I talked about my mental health issues around a decade ago, a handful of co-workers got in touch to say that they were (or had been) struggling with similar. Might that be the same around gender nonconformity?