Race-based caucusing is an incredibly helpful tool, but it can be a tricky space for leadership to navigate. Having executive staff in the room while other employees discuss issues they experience in their workplace can lead to a reluctance to speak frankly. For this reason, I believe one on one antiracism coaching for upper-level management is an excellent way for managers to benefit from reflection on how racism is showing up in their organizations.
This type of coaching gives managers space to explore their experiences with racism without infringing on the staff that reports to them. Ongoing personalized support that holds leaders accountable to their employees and themselves results in a more equitable workplace: leadership is able to see how their commitment to doing antiracism work sets a culture of valuing diversity, equity, and inclusion; how their assumptions contribute to unspoken norms in the organization, regardless of mission, vision, and values statements; and how their attitudes and biases may be contributing to problems within an organization. Executives are then able to use their coach’s expertise to help them craft concrete changes that shift the organization towards racial equity.
We all need space to think deeply about racism, but we need to be strategic about where that space is. For most staff, caucus works very well, but for leadership, coaching can be a better way forward.
©2018 Judy Blair LLC