ACTIVITY 22Amplify Voices That Aren't Being Heard

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

—Toni Morrison


We are empowered to perform our best in the workplace when we feel that our voices are heard. We need to know that our contributions are valued, appreciated and, when we're on the money, that our ideas will be explored or challenged by peers and colleagues. When we feel ignored, it is as if our experience, skills, and competencies are of no merit. As a result, we feel excluded, and as anyone who has ever experienced this knows, it impacts our morale and well-being. We want others to listen in such a way that we know we've been understood even when we agree to disagree. Effective communication occurs when we acknowledge what the other is saying, even though we may not like what's being said. In the name of respect, individuals need to be allowed to speak without being interrupted, discounted, or having their message discounted, especially on the basis of difference. All too often members of marginalized groups are not heard, because the dominant group feels that they know “how it's done.” Women are not heard, because men need to be right or feel that women are underqualified on the subject matter and subsequently take over the conversation with mansplaining. According to Merriam-Webster, mansplaining is when a man talks condescendingly to a woman about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than ...

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