Leading by example is its own form of leadership training.
This week, Team Ovation is glad to be doing it's part in spreading the word to end the word. The "Spread the Word to End the Word" movement is attempting to rid us of the rampant derogatory use of the "R-Word" and create a more respectful and accepting society, especially as it relates to those with intellectual disabilities (ID). We see more than ever now the crippling impact that "words" can have, as the news is filled with victims of hate speech and bullying. Something needs to be done.
The R-word is only one of many in the lexicon of derogatory terms that are thoughtlessly tossed around to describe different races, religions, and orientations. When these words are callously brought into the workplace, not to mention our daily lives, a hostile, intolerant, and ignorant environment is created. Even when people think they're "just kidding around", damage can be done.
A true leader fosters acceptance, respect, and appreciation in everything they do. One way to be a leader and spread the word to end many words is to lead by example.
1. Don't say it: As simple as that. If you haven't already, make a point to rid your speech of those words- you know the ones- that aren't acceptable in any situation. Our goal should be to treat everyone with consideration, respect, and honesty. The negative connotations of certain terms are meant to hurt others. Just. Don't. Say it.
2. Point it out: Let others know that you find the use of the word unacceptable. If you find derogatory speech happening in your environment, make a point of denouncing it. Try saying "I don't use that word. I don't like it. I find it hurtful and offensive and I'd prefer to avoid it." Hopefully the source of the term will catch on. Make it known that, in your life, you find those words unacceptable.
3. Take it up the chain and start a movement: Hate speech is never OK, even if certain people try to play it off as "just joking around". If you find that, despite your best efforts, you are working in a hostile environment, speak to a manager or HR representative about how this speech makes you, or others, feel. Then, offer to help start a company-wide movement to end the use of those terms. You'll help to inspire others to walk away from hateful talk and create a more positive work environment.
Let your example be some daily leadership training for your colleagues, friends, and family. Let's build a more positive, tolerant, and considerate world where everyone can flourish.