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Discussion on: What Makes an Environment Inclusive?

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Simon Rice

First of all, quality question & discussion 🙂 I genuinely believe everyone should strive to make their working environment inclusive and it pays dividends too on a business and community level!

Although an inclusive environment can consist of a broad range of aspects, I think it can summed up in one sentence as:

A positive, non-confrontational and (ideally) friendly environment where everyone has mutual respect for each other and their contributions.

Some practical ideas to help make this happen include:

  • Experienced people: take the time to be open to helping out less experienced people, and by "less experienced" I can also mean senior/lead level people who aren't fully clued up in your project. Also notice I haven't explicitly said developers up to this point as this sort of thing applies for experience non technical people too. However, on a technical front, make more of an effort of helping out than just leaving less experienced developers with just "you should be able to do that" without any pointers.
  • All developers: make an effort to ensure you're polite in reviewing your fellow developers' work and never flame or insult them. Better still, review with an open mind and make the effort to let this reflect in the language you use for your comments - instead of "do that", ask "is there any reason why you did this instead of that?" - and don't be afraid to leave positive comments too, especially if you've learned something new from their work! There's often context in why things are the codebase aren't as ideal as they should be, and sometimes the cost-benefit ratio of improving them isn't worth it, as painful as it can be!
  • Everyone: make an effort to be positive, firm and non-confrontational to your workmates. Also, be welcome listen to any suggestions and don't dismiss them because "things don't work that way here". Finally, practice empathy and take time to understand the whys and wherefores!

Your idea of getting balance in a room is a very interesting one - I admit sometimes I can be completely quiet - sometimes it's because I have very little to contribute, but sometimes something pops into my mind that I'm a bit nervous to say, and by the time I get to say it, the conversation has really moved on. I have a feeling this is where the role of a good leader comes in to play, but any tips for this scenario when the room isn't being led so well are more than welcome 😉.

There's a lot I've missed out and I'm sure I've missed the mark somewhere here! But once again, thank you for the awesome discussion 🤘

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