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Manager tools for The IDEAL Learning Journey

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Leading your team during this learning journey

Support your team members during their learning journey experience

One or more of your team members is participating in The IDEAL Learning Journey, a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) educational program for staff. Your role to support your team member is highly critical as they learn and build skills so that all members of our community feel included, respected, and valued. 

How the learning journey may affect participants

Some of the learning content/topics, concepts, visuals, discussions, and interactions with others in the learning journey may be difficult for some individuals to take in. Some individuals may feel sadness, anger, guilt, or other feelings, or may be upset. You may observe performance or productivity changes.

  • Some of the scenarios may be all too familiar for some individuals, and thus be tough to deal with, frustrating, or may cause them to relive personal experiences that were negative/traumatic.
  • For some participants, the learning journey could be the first time they are confronted with a range of situations related to complex DEIB topics and human behavior, and this could be shocking to them. 
  • Still others may be excited to use the practical tools being provided back in the workplace, and while that is exactly the type of transformational change the program is seeking to instill, it requires you as their manager, to be flexible and supportive of taking new approaches within the team. For example, team members will learn about microaggressions and how to intercede if that type of situation arises at work, and want to use the new approach, which calls for courage to be assertive in their communication, and in turn, could lead to you getting involved if such a situation arises.
  • Lastly, some participants may feel extra stretched due to the learning journey time commitment, so you may need to help by temporarily modifying work assignments or reassigning work to others while the program is taking place, as you would for any team member who needs help to manage priorities.

Ways to check in with your team

Use the tips in the chart below as a general guide to check in with your team member(s) during The IDEAL Learning Journey to talk about what is being learned, how to apply new approaches at work, and to identify if additional support may be needed. 

In addition, a thought-provoking set of icebreakers, discussion topics, and information has been compiled by the Lean In organization and is free to use. Review the digital cards on the "50 Ways to Fight Bias" website to see topics curated for different audiences and workplace interactions.

View the "50 Ways to Fight Bias" website

Mechanism to check in

Possible approach

Notes

1:1 meetings

Ask your team member(s) 1-2 questions in each recurring meeting, such as:

  • What is the most impactful insight you’ve had about the learning journey in the past 1-2 weeks?
  • What can I do differently to support you during this time period?
  • What new approaches have you learned about that you believe we should implement in our team?
  • What are a few ways you can share what you’ve learned with the rest of the team?
  • Approach this on a conversational basis. 
  • Prior to the start of the learning journey, tell your team member you’d like to put the learning journey on your recurring meeting agendas, just to touch base. That way, you set expectations that there will be regular check-ins and you show you are interested in their experience in this important pilot. 
  • Reassure them that your discussion is confidential.
Team mtgsIf appropriate, based on your knowledge of the team member(s) and their communication style, ask them to give a brief update about what they have learned in the last 2-4 weeks during The IDEAL Learning Journey. This is not meant to be a Q&A or a deep discussion, but rather, to give others a high-level overview of key content or learnings, as others will be curious.

Select one of the videos (or articles) from the Self-paced learning component. If a video, play the video in a team meeting. (If an article, ask team members to read it prior to your next team meeting.) In your team meeting, ask 1-2 open questions to debrief. The focus for this is that you are engaging in shared learning; you are not debating the topic depicted in the video or article, and you are not trying to solve it. Ask questions such as:

  • What was one takeaway you had from this video/article?
  • How does seeing this video/reading this article help you understand the complex issues associated with diversity, equity, justice, respect, inclusion, and belonging?
This is a way to have a shared learning experience, increase awareness of DEIB issues, and model having authentic race-based conversations.  
Slack channel for team, or Intranet, or other group/department channelIf appropriate, based on your knowledge of the team member(s) and their communication style, ask them to post or share brief content (no more than a paragraph) to be posted that will address “What I’m learning” that others may be interested in.This is a way to share key takeaways with a broader audience, and also to spark enthusiasm and interest in others for the time when they will participate in the learning journey. 
In your local communications

Solicit heartfelt messages from your team members or others in your school/unit/department/group. Say that their messages will be used to help others understand the importance of this learning journey. Ask them to respond to a single question, either in writing or by sharing a 30-second video clip:

  • Why does this work we're doing to create a community free of bias and discrimination matter to you?
  • What are your hopes for how this learning journey helps our workplace community?
  • What is the top takeaway you have from The IDEAL Learning Journey so far?
 

As with all workplace issues, please connect with your manager, leader, or human resources professional for guidance if situations arise where you could use support.

If you have questions about The IDEAL Learning Journey content or ways you can support your team member(s), please email: ideallearning@stanford.edu.