Why “He’s Like That With Everyone” Is a Red-Flag

Each week, we share five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

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Photo of man yelling into a phone. By Moose Photos from Pexels

1. Watch out for “He’s like that with everyone”

In this article, journalist Katy Preen drops the truth bomb that, if he’s like that with everyone, you have a problem. Here’s why:

“Even if he was an equal-opportunity arsehole, tolerating his misbehaviour is still especially harmful to women. Toxic workplaces harm women more than men, even though all exist in the same awful working conditions, because the same hostile behaviour affects women more adversely.”

When we hear someone saying, “He’s like that with everyone,” we have the opportunity to step up and push back. Ditto for phrases like, “That’s just the way he is.” If we don’t, we are complicit, helping to perpetuate the toxic behavior.

2. Learn colleagues’ names, especially if they’re a different race than you

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published Co-workers keep mixing up people of color in the office. It’s more than a mistake.

Turns out there’s something called “the cross-race effect,” which is the impression that people of a race other than your own “all look the same.”

As the reporter Rachel Hatzipanagos wrote,

“When people can’t tell their co-workers of color apart, it’s a constant reminder that you’re an outsider.”

Folks, let’s take the time to learn our colleagues’ names, especially if they’re a different race than us.

3. Don’t lower the bar during interviews

Talent leader and inclusion advice columnist Jennifer Kim tweeted a thread about how tech startups can compete with over-the-top salary offers and signing bonuses to hire the talent they need. One suggestion: “A focus on Diversity & Inclusion allows you access untapped pools of talent.”

She then goes on to post a zinger of a tweet:

While we can’t wait to read Jen’s next thread, we do have a cautionary tale to share with you in the meantime. About a time a tech company lowered the bar while interviewing an engineer from an underrepresented group. Spoiler alert: the tech company blew it. Read about it here.

4. Support Muslim colleagues during Ramadan

This year, the holy month of Ramadan lasts from May 6 through June 4. Muslim colleagues may need accommodations during this time. If you’re not sure how to best support them, here’s a fact sheet on Ramadan from Tanenbaum, a nonprofit combating religious prejudice.

5. Recommend a communication plan for a colleague going through a gender transition

Editor’s note: We shared this story about a year ago and wanted to share it again for our new subscribers.

When Clark Musto went through a gender transition, his employer not only talked the talk about supporting transgender employees, but walked the walk. In this post about his experience and the support he received, we learned a ton about supporting transgender employees. Here’s just one idea. Along with HR’s support, Clark developed a communication plan which allowed him to be in control of when he want to be associated with his new gender.

Allies, if you have a co-worker going through a gender transition, why not recommend they develop a communication plan, like Clark did?

Being an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies™ approach.

Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.

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