Categories: Virtual Experience Series
By: Quincy Wright, PMP
President, PMO Nerd LLC
I recently presented at the PMI Virtual Experience Series: 9 June which had more than 28,000 attendees globally. My presentation, Leading an Inclusive Project Team, focused on the art and science of project management with a strong emphasis on nontechnical skills, growth mindset, and systems needed in leading projects and project teams. The primary goal of this presentation was to help leaders incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE/I) principles, tools, and techniques in project management throughout the initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling, and closeout phases.
My presentation learning objectives focused on:
- Developing a growth mindset by recognizing and identifying the beliefs, behaviors, and practices that get in the way of managing projects and project teams; and
- Describe the leadership and nontechnical skills required to be an inclusive leader in project management with a strong emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE/I).
During my presentation, I received a lot of great questions that we didn’t get a chance to cover, and my responses are below.
Question 1: So, to come up with realization of unconcious bias we need to first self-aware ourselves as best as we can?
Self-reflection can help create an inclusive work environment by removing barriers and creating allyships. Self-reflection helps project managers and leaders recognized and identified the values, feelings, and potential blindspots that can create barriers between you and your project team. These barriers can lead to stereotypes, bias, prejudice, and discrimination if left unchecked. Self-reflection starts with understanding and identifying your own personal culture/identity: ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
- What are your values you feel strongly about or live by (e.g., family, friends, social justice, money, love)? These are what drive your actions.
- What part of your identities, values, emotions, or lived experience might be obstructing your ability to fully empathize and engage authentically with people? Try to identify where these feelings are coming from.
Question 2: Is the culture shaped by the people or people are molded by the organization culture? Both ways, isn't it?
As a leader, you are responsible and accountable to creating an inclusive work environment where all employees feel welcomed, valued, and respected. Creating an inclusive work environment starts with diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Diversity encompasses the range of similarities and differences that each individual brings to the workplace. Equity recognizes that each individual is unique and accommodates their needs properly (e.g., fair, just, and impartial treatment and advancement for all individuals). Inclusion is an organizational effort and practice in which different groups or individuals are culturally and socially accepted and welcome. Justice focuses on fixing the systems in a way that leads to long-term, sustainable, and equitable access. Culture is shaped by the people and leadership; as a project manager, you have the opportunity to create a positive and inclusive culture.
Question 3: One part of developing a diverse cultural environment is challenging the current culture fit. Is it not?
Developing a diverse and inclusive culture starts with evaluating and assessing your current culture. Collect, analyze, and measure data, including developing a scorecard to display and communicate the data. This is an important step in evaluating your current culture. Nevertheless, developing a diverse and inclusive culture is more than data points, it’s also a “feeling”; therefore, understanding empathy and microaggressions plays an important role in developing a diverse and inclusive environment.
- Empathy is the ability to identify, relate, and share similar feelings or emotions another person may be experiencing.
- Microaggressions are the everyday slights, insults, putdowns, and offensive behaviors that people experience in daily interactions with generally well-intentioned individuals who may be unaware that they have engaged in demeaning ways.
This was a great event with featured speakers, exhibits and networking activities and amazing participants. I had a great time presenting, and I was blown away by your participation and feedback. The full presentation will be on demand through 31 January 2023. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2022 for more details.