This next activity allows us to examine how we empathise with the different experiences of the people around us. Inclusivity is about feeling a sense of value and belonging in a team, group or workplace. To create and foster inclusion, we need to develop empathy.
Harvard Business Review recommends “perspective taking” as a great way to mentally walk in someone else’s shoes. Perspective taking involves actively imagining and describing (such as writing down and verbalising) the unique challenges a person from a diverse, marginalised or minority background might face. Through this act of dedicating time to consider and articulate someone else’s experiences, you can develop greater empathy for others.
Image description: Cartoon images depicting two different characters. The title of the image is “Empathy”. One character is shaped like a circle and the other is shaped like a pear. Each character has a thought-bubble above their head. In each character’s thought bubble is an image of the other character, implying that each character is thinking of the other and demonstrating empathy.
Image source: Created by Diversity Focus using Canva.com
Have a go at responding to the reflective prompt questions below. We encourage you to write down your responses (or record in another method of your choice). Writing or recording your experience can help to clarify and consolidate your thoughts and feelings.
- What types of diverse backgrounds and experience is represented in your team (such as education, gender, sexual orientation, race or other elements)?
- Visualise yourself in the shoes of one colleague who has a different background or lived experience to you. Write or record a few sentences to capture what distinct challenges you believe that unnamed person may face, based on their unique background.
- Write or record a few sentences about the unique strengths of that unnamed person.
- How do you think displaying empathy towards others can benefit you in the workplace?