How to Disagree Respectfully (and Civilly) at Work

In the current period of social and political unrest, conversations at your small business are becoming more frequent and more difficult to have. On subjects like critical race theory, gender equity in the workplace, and LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms, many of us are understandably fearful of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. That fear can sometimes prevent us from speaking up at all, depriving people from these marginalized groups of support and stalling progress toward a more just and inclusive society.

how to disagree respectfully at work

On The Small Business Radio Show this week, David Glasgow, is the co-author of  “Say the Right Thing: How to Talk About Identity, Diversity, and Justice”. The book shows potential allies that these conversations don’t have to be so overwhelming. He demonstrates how to manage diverse teams at work, navigating issues of inclusion at college, or challenging biased comments at a family barbecue. David is also an attorney and professor at NYU School of Law and at the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

We discussed:

  • What is the book about, and what are David is hoping readers will take away from it.
  • How to avoid four (totally natural, but unhelpful) reactions to being called out for a misstep.
  • How to disagree respectfully and civilly when it becomes clear there’s a topic upon which you and your conversation partner cannot agree.
  • How to apologize authentically if you’ve made a mistake in a conversation with someone about their identity or experiences.
  • How to apply the “Platinum Rule” by considering how a person affected by bias would want to be helped.
  • How and why different generations often talk at cross purposes on issues of identity, and how to find common ground.
  • How to “adopt a learning posture” in identity conversations.

Listen to the entire interview with David on The Small Business Radio Show.

Image: David Glasgow

Small Business Radio Show As a small business expert, Barry Moltz gets owners growing again by unlocking their long forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, Barry has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners unstuck and marching forward. As a small business expert, Barry applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.