Racism and bullying in the workplace can never be ignored by organizations, which would also be wise to uncover how offending employees got to that point in their lives, writes Alaina Love, sharing an example from her consulting work. “Sometimes reaching the Jerrys of the world means walking into their pain and holding up a mirror,” she writes.



It was the third time that morning that I’d heard the question. Each time, the person asking it seemed a bit nervous, and there was some occasional eye-rolling among everyone. Clearly, Jerry was a legend in the executive suite, although that was not apparent to me at first.

Perusing the roster of people to see that week, I found Jerry’s name listed in the last interview slot on the final day. It seemed that I was the chosen one, but for what prize I’d not yet determined.

My colleague and I were contracted by the company to conduct diversity competency assessments of their senior team. The organization had experienced a history of employee complaints, which most recently resulted in the filing of a class-action lawsuit that had landed on the desk of the company’s new CEO.

He wasn’t happy about the allegations contained in the filing. If they were true, a culture shift was essential, one which he strongly believed began at the top. To his credit, he wanted to examine his own fitness and that of his team to lead a diverse and inclusive organization.