The diversity and inclusion space is constantly evolving and with it, the way we speak about communities and the things that make us diverse. It can feel like a lot of work is needed to stay current.
People tell me this all the time, and usually along with it, how tense and nervous they feel about saying or doing the wrong thing and how they second and third guess themselves trying to ensure that they don’t make a mistake, so that no one has the opportunity to call them out on it publicly.
I get it. Nobody likes making mistakes! But how we deal with them that is really important.
Here are some tips that I regularly share with clients to help them move forward positively and constructively, in the wake of a mistake.
Tip 1: Own It
It has already happened and you can’t pretend otherwise. Don’t try to ignore it and hope it will go away, and don’t go on the defensive. Own your mistake.
Tip 2: Educate Yourself
Take the time to learn why the thing you said or did was problematic. It is also important for you to do the research yourself. Don’t place that burden on the person who called you out.
Tip 3: Don’t Wallow
You’ve made the mistake and now you are working to make things right. Don’t spend too much time beatung yourself yp about it – you are only human.
Tip 4: Take Action
Once you understand the issue(s), do what you can to apologies and make things right, including not to repeat that behaviour again.
Tip 5: Share
When mistakes happen, it’s often because of a lack of knowledge. Now that you have that knowledge, share it with others so they don’t make a mistake.
I also want to let you know that I also make mistakes from time-to-time and this is my area of specialism. For Lesbian Visibility Week this year, I posted an incorrect version of the Lesbian Pride flag to my Instagram. You can see below how I followed my own tips in order to respond! After all, I’m learning and growing too. I encourage anyone to pull me up when I don’t quite get things right. Diversity & Inclusion is a journey. And that on that journey we may make mistakes. Accepting that and having an action plan for when it happens can make you feel braver to step up and own your voice.
Hey Dana. Long time no chat :-). I love this one and with your permission would also like to share to our newly formed Allyship working group.
I remember when you first posted this to IG and how it just made sense. I actually bookmarked it and kept coming back but it’s great to have it long form too and I appreciate you sharing it.
It’s really easy to make mistakes in this work and it’s something I worry about all the time. Thanks for sharing.