Monday, October 30, 2006

Searching for Insult

If you've been in the workplace any sizable length of time, you have probably encountered people who search for insult.

They listen carefully for every intonation and word that might signal a slight and are eager to label others as insensitive or bigoted. Usually, they are not disappointed in their quest, if only because their benchmark is so delicately calculated, the innocent and well-meaning are lumped in with the malevolent.

My guess is they don't care if their dragnet is too wide. Their game is not about spotting danger or discourtesy but instead is designed to establish their own superiority and, yes, innocence.

Unfortunately, many of these bitter souls work in the diversity field. There are diversity programs that promote practical ways of managing a mixed workforce that can be truly beneficial.

The ones that are conducted by zealots who seek to find racism, sexism, and homophobia under the corporate bed will divide your workforce far more than unite it. I continue to be surprised how often such practitioners are invited to facilitate diversity sessions at major organizations. Perhaps they aren't the only ones suffering from guilt.

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