Diversity at work: Behaviors matter

It’s a fact: diverse teams are smarter teams.

Studies have shown that diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and experience makes teams more innovative and higher performing. And as organizations today tackle increasingly complex challenges, this kind of diversity is more important than ever.

It’s in leaders’ best interest to make diversity the norm—but here’s the rub: One of the biggest threats to diversity and inclusion in the workplace is often too small to detect.

Microaggressions—small, everyday behaviors, often rooted in unconscious bias—create a hostile environment for marginalized groups. Intentional or unintentional, they show up in comments, habits, and actions, and their profound impact on the workplace is well-known and well-documented.


We know good work is being done to combat these issues. Many organizations today require some level of diversity and inclusion training to recognize and stop microaggressions and unconscious biases.

But is that enough?

At SYPartners, we’re asking: How might leaders go beyond stopping problematic behavior—and actively build positive behavior and an inclusion mindset instead?

Consider this: Each workday is filled with countless moments—micro-choices, micro-actions, and micro-behaviors—that inform our every move and communicate signals to others.


If leaders build positive habits that show up in these “micro-moments,” habits that work to enhance inclusion and celebrate diversity of all forms, imagine the powerful positive impact they could make.

SYPartners’ Keith Yamashita developed thinking on how leaders can create positive change around diversity and inclusion. It happens through micro-choices, micro-actions, and micro-behaviors—and inspire change in others by example.

Because while policy changes and training around diversity in the workplace are critical, it’s everyday behavior change that forwards progress and lasting change.

If you want to learn more, download more of Keith’s thinking, and try this two-minute test to kick your biases at work.