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Updated: Mar 12, 2022


A woman with a superhero shadow faces steps with challenge, ideas, problems, crisis and finish
Choose to Challenge Self and Others - with Confidence

Next week ends the EquALLIES #ChooseToChallenge month. Lending the hashtag promoted by this year's International Women’s Day theme, we’ve promoted how we can lead self and others to and through change.

After all, change is our only constant, so navigating it is not only a skill but a necessity.

It acknowledges that each and every single individual has the power to choose to accept the status quo, or promote change. From goal setting, planning and preparation, to time keeping, resilience and promoting success, we’ve captured elements of our comprehensive Ambassador model to create Inclusive Leaders at every level.

Importantly, it acknowledges that change can be hard, and equips us with tools and strategies individuals and teams must use to address barriers we face.

This article embodies the 31 lessons on how to #ChooseToChallenge and develop Inclusive Leadership, with a framework structure our learning.

Equality of Choice

EquALLIES understand our ability to choose is influenced by inequalities. We also recognise that how we face our challenges influences our personal and collective success.

When discussing the murder of Sarah Everard, the subsequent vigil and unrest, a serving police officer recently explained that he used his skills, knowledge and experience to make choices that might differ from others, highlighting we all have autonomy. For example, if he felt unsafe walking home, he would go the long way round, take a cab, do something different.

This caused me to question whether this mindset was taken to work, and if it was, how it might influence wider policing and justice? What would influence someone’s ability to take the long route (time restraints), take a cab (financial constraints) or do something different? Could this way of thinking be shared by associates and could it hint at why violence against women and girls is so poorly served by our justice system? I chose to challenge how his decision making, as a serving police officer would lend from their professional experience in risk assessment, and a heightened awareness of the dangers a minority of citizens pose to others. Not all citizens have the same insight to crime, and to expect otherwise is victim blaming.

Day 18 of our #ChooseToChallenge is a lesson in motivation/trigger and consequence:

If [problem] then [action].

Translating that to this conversation in policing, ‘If [victim makes another choice] then [the crime might not have happened]’. This way of thinking promotes focus on the victim’s actions, rather than the perpetrators crime. The officer clarified he wouldn’t transpose his mindset onto his cases, but it’s causes one to question; if we bring our full selves to work, can the decision making of humans out of uniform influence the delivery of officers in uniform?

By becoming more aware of when and how we use ‘If [trigger] then [action]’ as individuals and as part of a team, we can better assess when that leads to positive and negative outcomes. Use it to motivate; If [I complete this task by the set time] then [I get to do my favourite thing].

Health inequalities are another area where inequalities have a life changing impact. Covid has highlighted how one individual’s health has the power to impact us all, which is why it’s important for us to take care not only of ourselves but also of each other, too. As health inequalities are one area where ethnic minorities have suffered disproportionately, we must all recognise that we cannot transfer our own risks and experiences onto others.

Likewise, social inequalities have disproportionately fallen to women. Unemployment has hit women hardest, just as unpaid and emotional labour has fallen at their door too.

This is why the EDUCATION element of our Engage > Educate > Empower programme is so critical. It is important for us to understand the barriers we all face, in order to work individually and collectively to address them. For example, grief will be an issue many will have had to experience, but for some, that will hit harder than others. How you process that individually and within your communities and organisations will shape how inclusive you are.

Challenge or Be Challenged?

Mindset and emotional health is paramount when facing and addressing change. Whether your challenge is personal ambition or whether the challenge you face is beyond your control, the key to navigating it healthy and successfully lies in preparation.

Examples of personal ambition challenges include; improve your physical health with new sleep, diet or exercise habits. Or maybe you want to learn a new language, improve your knowledge on a certain topic or become more creative.

Challenges you may face beyond your control may be; a change in employment, relationships or finance. When considering how you may be challenged in the equality, diversity and inclusion space, it may also include when you recognise a social injustice, and need to navigate uncomfortable conversations.

Developed with our psychology specialist, Dr Loreen Chikwira, our 31 day programme enables participants to embrace change positively, using reflection and practical tips to ensure you understand how and why you must address the challenges you face, set goals and stay on track, even when times get tough. In and out of work, the interdependent relationships between happiness, health and productivity are integral to propelling self and others to achieve both individual and team goals.

When we #ChooseToChallenge, we build confidence to succeed when we are involuntarily challenged. Laying this groundwork before change chooses you will provide the professional and personal skills you need to achieve, whatever you face.

Drop us a line now to learn more.

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