After the Webinar: Empathy and Inclusion. Q&A with Katharine Manning

Webinar presenter Katharine Manning answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Empathy and Inclusion. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: What do you do with the information that you’ve received from observing things? 

Katharine Manning: So, it really depends on the situation, right? So, part of what we’re trying to do here is just get better at  identifying the information. So, we are seeing, wow, this one person didn’t laugh when everybody else laughed. So, that is a key piece of information that could mean a lot of different things. So, we don’t want to take action on it right away, because there’s a lot of different ways that that could go. What we want to do is just continue to be curious about it. Does he never laugh at any jokes? Maybe he’s just not kind of ex exhibitive in that way. Maybe he doesn’t like this one guy who said the joke. Maybe it’s that he has his mind on other things. Or maybe his feelings are hurt because it’s something that happened earlier in the meeting. So, what we’re trying to do is just gather as much information as we can, and then what we can do is go and talk to the person, and say, “Hey, I noticed you seemed a little off in that meeting. When Seth said that thing, you didn’t laugh, I just wanted to check in. Are you doing okay? Is there something bothering you?” It gives us an opportunity where we can follow up and check in with the person and see, do they need some additional support. Is there something going on that’s keeping them from being able to thrive in the workplace? So, what action we take is always going to be dependent on the situation. The first step, though, is just gathering as much information we can, and the way to do that is again curiosity. Just kind of get quiet and observe, see what’s going on, and then you can ask the question.


Audience Question: We had an employee leave who stated they felt othered or excluded within the workplace, but when they were given opportunities to engage or provide input on projects they chose not to and would purposefully disengage. What would you recommend we do in this kind of situation? 

Katharine Manning: So, can I just say it back and make sure I’m understanding it, Aaron. So, somebody is saying that they feel excluded but when people reach out and try to include them. It doesn’t seem to work. They continue to feel disengaged. Aam I saying that right?

Host: Yup, exactly. And so, then ended up leaving the organization.

Katharine Manning: Yeah, that’s disappointing. That’s really hard. And for a lot of people, you know, who knows right all the things that are going on for them. I think it is great that you are making some efforts to try to find out what’s going on with the person. If this is something that is happening repeatedly in particular, with a type of but you know, a particular group like, maybe it’s Muslims or women, or something like that. If you’re seeing that that’s happening repeatedly with one group. Then that’s something I think, that probably needs to be addressed in a more holistic way. But other than that, I think that it’s exactly what you did. It’s having the conversation. Maybe seeing if there’s one person who can try to build that connection. We don’t need a lot of connections at work. There’s kind of research on this like just having one really good work friend, makes a huge difference in our sense of belonging, so it doesn’t have to be that they feel connected with everybody. But maybe we can help them find one person that they can build a strong bond with.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Empathy and Inclusion


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