Dec 201510

Diversity & Inclusion - Glossary of Terms and Key Concepts

We are often asked about the 'formal definitions ' of the terms used in Sollah's video programs and eLearning courses. We work closely with our subject matter experts to present the terms used in our training materials as both legally correct and easy-to-understand.

Here are some of the key terms and concepts we're most asked about.

  1. Bullying (also referred to as abusive conduct) is behavior that is offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting, or abuse of power conducted by an individual or group against others, which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self-confidence, and may cause them to suffer stress. Note: Bullying may meet the definition of unlawful harassment when it involves behavior associated with a person’s race, national origin, gender, religion or any other protected class. It may also meet the definition of retaliation if it’s linked to an employee’s participation in a protected activity.
     
  2. Cultural competency means recognizing and responding appropriately to the cultural differences and similarities that make up the workforce and customer base, and using this understanding to communicate more effectively and make better decisions.
     
  3. Diversity refers to the unique individual, cultural and organizational characteristics that make up our workforce, customers other stakeholders; it is about our similarities as well as our differences.
     
  4. Diversity and inclusion dynamics are the reactions that occur when differences in culturally driven experiences, expectations and perceptions cause individuals or groups to feel that they are being excluded, treated unfairly or misunderstood.  Diversity moments occur when diversity dynamics affect our relationships, behavior or understanding of a situation. They are often based on cross-cultural misunderstandings which occur when a meaning that exists in one culture is interpreted differently in another.  Diversity moments refer to situations where different cultural meanings lead to misunderstandings, confusion or difficulty in deciding what to do next.  For example, an unexpected reaction to a term or expressions that may have a negative meaning in another culture is one example of a diversity moment.  A diversity moment is characterized by an unintended direction or unexpected focus that occurs when a diversity or inclusion issue is suddenly and often unintentionally dominating a situation.
     
  5. Inclusion refers to a sense of belonging, opportunity and the ability to contribute; it is the assurance that the diversity we bring is welcomed, valued, respected and treated fairly.
     
  6. M.E.E.T.™ is a tool that can be used to create a respectful flow of communication. It helps everyone recognize, respond to, and resolve difficult interactions involving diversity and inclusion dynamics.
     
  7. Micro-inequities (sometimes referred to as negative micro-messages and/or micro-aggressions) are repeated, subtle, often unconscious, messages that devalue or discourage and can be conveyed through facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, and choice of words, nuance and syntax. The accumulation of micro-inequities can create the experience of bias and inequity and can erode teamwork, commitment and overall performance.
     
  8. Self-Awareness is the process of understanding yourself. It means being able to recognize your feelings about different groups of people, understand the emotions associated with the feelings, and understand what you think and do as a result.
     
  9. Self-Management - In Seven Habits of Effective People, Steven Covey emphasized that each of us has response-ability -- the ability to choose our response to any situation. Managing our emotions allows us to choose how we respond to diversity and inclusion dynamics, rather than react. Self- management is about being able to moderate your emotions and responses to situations and other people; and, express positive emotions to others.


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