DIFF podcast: It should be safe for people to call out bad behaviour

DIFF podcast: It should be safe for people to call out bad behaviour

Speaking about the concept of double victimisation, host Luke Beisiegel, events assistant at AE3 Media, said calling something out could make the victim feel vulnerable for a second time and embarrass the aggressor. 

Beisiegel said he had been in situations where someone had described something as “gay” in a negative way, but he refrained from calling it out to avoid making the situation worse or causing himself discomfort. 

He asked how this could be tackled. 

Steve Bryan, director of distribution and marketing at The Exeter, said the context of “who, when and how” mattered, and if he was around people who were close to him, he hoped they would feel comfortable enough to call it out. 

He said this could be harder where people were “less familiar” with each other, and he wanted to explore ways to make this safer. Bryan said it also depended on the aggressor and whether they were willing to be called out. 

William Lloyd-Hayward, group chief operating officer at Brightstar Financial and managing director of Sirius Finance, said it also relied on how comfortable people felt about speaking up, adding: “None of us have got to make the commitment that we can always call it out”. 

He said it was about fostering the right environment and leaders having the courage to allow this to happen. 

Lloyd-Hayward said before he came out as gay in 2016, if he heard or witnessed anything happening, he did not feel he was in a position to call it out because he was dealing with his own issues. 

He said: “It hurt, it was annoying, it was upsetting. But I wasn’t ready to do so because suddenly the spotlight comes firmly onto you and it’s ‘oh, you must be gay as well then?’. And it’s ‘no, no, no’, I don’t want to open up that can of worms. 

“That was not me ever not wanting to step up and defend someone, but there were probably parts of me that went, ‘if I do, this is going to turn the spotlight round on me and I’m going to think: ooh, this is difficult’.” 

He said those who could should step up, but if they did not feel comfortable, they should support the victim after the incident when they feel they could. 

 

Microaggressions: Innocence or ignorance? 

Atlyn Forde, head of engagement and inclusion at Pepper Money UK, said it was good to speak about microaggressions as it made people more aware of when they happened. 

A microaggression is an intentional or unintentional verbal or behavioural slight directed at someone, particularly from a minority group, that might be prejudicial. 

Beisiegel said microaggressions could come from a place of innocence, while Forde said it was more likely to be from a place of ignorance. 

She said that, although understanding why someone might make a microaggression was important, the focus should be on the person on the receiving end of the comment or action and how it has made them feel. 

Forde said, in her experience, the microaggressions directed towards her usually came from a place of ignorance or a lack of life experience. She also said that, sometimes, it was done out of malice. 

As a senior leader in her career, Forde said people often presumed she was not the manager, which she said could be based on her gender or race. 

When Forde was a marketing director, she approached a reception desk with a group to announce their arrival for an event, and the receptionist was looking behind her to look for someone else to be in charge. 

“Surely, it can’t be you that’s in charge of this group; because of their own bias, they wouldn’t believe that the person in front of them is the person that is in charge or is in the leadership position,” she added. 

Lloyd-Hayward said attention should be drawn to people who had been made aware of any offensive things they had said, but not worked to change their behaviour or views. 

“I’ll give anyone one chance – within reason,” he added. 

Bryan said this was where the dichotomy around innocence and ignorance in making microaggressions appeared. 

“Innocence is where you learn and ignorance is where you don’t,” Bryan added. 

 

Creating safe environments 

Beisiegel asked how these environments could be created to make it safe for people to call out bad behaviour. 

Forde said discussions about microaggressions, inclusion and respect “should be had outside of scenarios”. 

“People are more open to hearing about things when there isn’t an issue,” she added. 

She said these discussions should be had during onboarding or training sessions, preventing people from only learning by going through experiences themselves. 

Forde said: “Quite often, when microaggressions occur, it may not be the first time that has happened. I think that’s why it stings a lot more sometimes, because it’s something that you’ve heard repeatedly over your life.” 

She said this was why managers should be supportive of people on the receiving end and educating people about why it was offensive. 

Beisiegel said he noticed more messages being relayed at events for people to be mindful and respectful to others, and asked how the panel felt about this. 

Forde it would be great if it did not have to be said, but some people’s inhibitions were lowered when they were drinking. 

She said: “Say it in a way where people don’t feel that they’re being told off… just a gentle reminder, because it might make people think twice. 

“Being on the receiving end can just totally ruin your evening,” she added. Forde said it was still valid to make these reminders. 

Lloyd-Hayward said it set the tone for the evening and demonstrated the inclusivity of it. 

 

Listen to the podcast below [33:07] hosted by Luke Beisiegel, events assistant at AE3 Media, featuring guests Atlyn Forde, head of engagement and inclusion at Pepper Money UK, Steve Bryan, director of distribution and marketing at The Exeter, and William Lloyd-Hayward, group chief operating officer at Brightstar Financial and managing director of Sirius Finance.

 

Watch the video version of the podcast below.