I’m not an expert in diversity issues, nor master the area. I make mistakes with wording; in Finnish, the word team lead or leader used to be esimies (foreman) nowadays esihenkilö (foreperson), and yes, I still occasionally use the old term. It’s not that I wouldn’t see the importance or ignore the issue; sometimes, old habits stick hard.
Keep on learning
Companies do a lot of diversity and equality training and make sure the policies and practicalities are set accordingly. I’m happy to have very knowledgeable people around me. My paramount diversity and equality source is my PT, Suvi. She’s not only making sure my deadlift technique is correct, but we often discuss diversity issues and other hot topics raising from different media or actions. She’s also younger than me, which gives me a perfect way to renew and reform my own opinion 🙂
I’m most likely bias, but one of the most tolerant and liberal people I know is my almost 70 years old Dad. I’ve always felt that I wanted to give that comfortable feeling he can give regardless of who he talks with. I would like to see all people as human beings and treat them with respect, but since it’s pride week, there’s one person and one event that keeps coming back to me.
“I just wanted to tell you I’m gay.”
This person worked in my team—a well-liked professional, easygoing person who was very accessible to approach and easy to talk. One day, as so many times before, we had lunch. We chatted, but suddenly, I could see a worrying look in his eyes, and the mood became more serious. My first thought was, “oh my God, please tell me you’re ok, and there’s nothing wrong with your health” , and I took his hand and looked at him saying, “tell me, please” With a tear falling from his eye he whispered, “I just wanted to tell you I’m gay.”
He told that to me, to his boss!
My first reaction was, I’m so glad you’re ok. There we were, at the lunch table, me holding his hand and both shedding tears, like an old couple.
Then it hit me. He told this to me, to his boss! He had just told me an enormously private thing which he hadn’t been keeping as a secret but not either advertised. I felt so honored and so happy. I had managed to create that comfortable environment where this human being could be himself and trust me with one of his biggest secrets. If there was a possibility, I liked and appreciated him even more after understanding his situation.
Friends with Pride
Today, I’m proud to call this person on of my dearest friends as well as a professional advisor. He is also the person who dares to correct me, tell me if I’m wrong or planning to make a bad decision.
You know who you are<3 Thank you for granting me one of the best and most memorable moments as a leader and made sure I know in the future how to deal with similar situations.
Happy Pride week!