Create a ‘call-in culture’ and understand how to replace hate with love when dealing with negativity at the workplace.

We tend to turn to technology for many of our needs, whether practical, intellectual or social. But what happens when social media becomes a place for public shaming and blaming? This breeds hate. Any type of calling out, whether at work or socially, leads to negative feelings. Loretta J Ross, an American feminist, and activist talks about handling this ‘hate’ in her TED talk titled “Don’t call people out - call them in.”

Through examples and stories, Loretta explains the concept of call-out culture, where at work and in life, it is common for individuals to call out someone who has wronged us and needs to be shown that. To counter the hate generated by calling out, she discusses various strategies for more amicable conversations to create a ‘call-in’ culture, which also serves the same purpose of providing the individual with feedback.

The shift from hate to love

Early in her life, Loretta got advice from Reverend C.T. Vivian (an aide to Dr. Martin Luther King). He said that asking people to give up on hate was possible only when one stood by them. At work, this means understanding both the perspectives of the situation and giving people a chance to explain. This is when hate gets replaced by empathy.

She applied this principle with her life. Being a victim of racial and sexual violence, Loretta herself needed a direction in her life and a way to give back to society. And this was by shifting hate to love. That’s how she started talking about the need for a culture, and a world that invites people in instead of pushing them out. It's called a "calling-in culture”.

‘Call-in’ is actually ‘call-out with love’

Through a personal anecdote, Loretta explains how many see “calling-out” as “not an invitation for growth but the expectation that one has already grown” as quoted by one of her students. Taking a cue from this she elucidates “call-in” is actually “call-out with love”. During this process, the person who is called in is given an opportunity to be heard and respected.

At the workplace, this would mean providing an opportunity to all individuals to present their case, irrespective of their job, position, and hierarchy. Leaders and team managers hold the responsibility to create this culture, where everyone is heard. This helps individuals to channelize their inner empathy and compassion, thus building higher engagement with their co-workers, and their organization.

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Call-in, call-out, or a third option?

Loretta recommends a thorough self-introspection before calling-in someone. This process includes knowing one’s motive behind calling-in the other person. She says that one needs to make an informed decision while calling-in someone as this means that you are willing to take the responsibility of managing the emotions of the individual being called-in.

However, she adds, there are high possibilities that someone might not be compatible with either calling-out or calling-in, in such a scenario the apt option would be to call on them. A phrase coined by Sonya Renee Taylor, an author and social justice activist, calling on means displaying your agreement with the subject, but engaging with the person in a conversation with questions that may lead them to reconsider their choice. Loretta adds further that calling-in, calling-out or calling on culture can be adopted as per one’s own discretion and the environment at work or life.

In her TED talk, “Don’t call people out - call them in” Loretta also talks about the concept of forgiveness and through numerous vivid personal accounts reiterates the necessity to challenge bigotry, hatred and wrong-doing, however through a process that does not breed further hatred and chaos but only spreads love, forgiveness and inclusivity amongst all.

She summarizes by saying, “Fighting hate should be fun; it's being a hater that sucks.”

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