i-Three Issue Corps: We are the cultivators of our work environment

Recently, at the University of Delaware, I had the opportunity to attend their first diversity summit, titled “Diversity Summit: Realizing Social Justice for a Better UD.” As a member of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Diversity Committee, I feel it is important to stay developed in this field, but I didn’t know what to expect from an all-day summit and I wasn’t sure how it would integrate with my role at UD or with the Diversity & Inclusion Issue Corps.

There were two keynote speakers Dr. Carol Henderson, Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Delaware, and Dr. Tony Allen, recently appointed provost at Delaware State University. Dr. Carol Henderson spoke about our responsibility to making sure youth get a quality educational experience. She said it takes all of us to cultivate that experience. I would like to take that a step forward, because I believe this goes beyond the classroom. I believe as professionals it is up to all of us us to cultivate the experience we have in our workplace.

Dr. Tony Allen speaking at UD Diversity Summit (Photo Credit: Christy Mannering)

During Dr. Tony Allen’s remarks, he said, “We all have a responsibility to serve as we have been served. None of us white, black, brown, gay or straight, male or female, have gotten to any of our positions or any of our places in life, alone.” The truth is that whether we notice and acknowledge each other or not, we still all play a role in each others lives. The way we live, the way we work, the way we present ourselves, our action and our inaction can very much impact and shape the lives of the people around us.

We impact and shape the lives of the people around us.  moment of clarity during the event I realized how this connected with the idea of developing emotional intelligence in the workplace. If you’re stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated and you are unable to self-regulate that could negatively impact your work environment (Deleon, 2015). Our technical skills, our expertise and knowledge won’t matter if we are unable to effectively work with others. Emotions often prompt the way we behave and react. Our emotions influence the type of leader we are and how we learn from constructive criticism.

Emotional intelligence goes beyond self-awareness and self-regulation. Are we able to look through the lens of other people? Can we look through the lens of different backgrounds including age, culture, race and ability? To promote diversity and be inclusive we need to be aware of ourselves, aware of our peers and that includes colleagues outside our work “silos”. Being more in tune to each other will help us to provide better service to those we work with in the public and a better workplace experience.

Sources:

Deleon, Mariah. (2015). “The Importance of Emotional Intelligence at Work.” Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245755
Diversity Summit Logo created by Office of Communication and Marketing at the University of Delaware

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