A talk with… Matthias Weber
“For me, visibility is one of the most effective instruments for creating acceptance.”
What does the visibility of LGBT*IQ have to do with leadership?
Matthias Weber: Modern management methods are based on the goal of fair treatment, appreciation and development of all employees. The fact that we are still a long way from achieving such an inclusive and diversity-oriented working and management environment is shown not only by actually measurable quotas of women, but also by the results of representative studies: LGBT*IQs too often feel discriminated against and therefore largely prefer not to come out at the workplace. And here we are on the subject of visibility: for me, visibility is one of the most effective instruments for creating acceptance. Here leadership has a relevant meaning: starting at the top of the company, as “tone from the top” and then through all management levels, the company’s claim that all employees are equally valuable, measured according to their performance and promoted according to their potential must be made clear.
You advocate a holistic Diversity Management instead of a deficit-oriented approach at antidiscrimination – what are the most important differences between these approaches?
Matthias Weber: Deficit-oriented anti-discrimination approaches are mostly aimed at individual measures. Nevertheless, the legislator aims to prohibit discrimination here. This is a statement and important as a political signal, just as it is necessary as a legal basis for those affected. But from my point of view, it is important to work to ensure that discrimination does not arise – and that is because people’s attitudes towards each other are respectful and mutually accepting. This is where holistic diversity management can offer effective strategies in both public and private companies.
In Germany, a large part of LGBT*IQ-community still decides not to come out at the workplace. What is the difference to other countries – what is done better there? What can we learn from that?
Matthias Weber: According to my opinion, this is essentially a question of culture, society and personal self-conception. In France, around 60 per cent have their coming out at the workplace, despite the fact that the fear of being disadvantaged in working life is greater. The deeply rooted urge for freedom and self-determination, no matter what the cost, is more pronounced in our neighbours than in Germany, and there are countless examples of this on both sides. Our state structure as a non-secular state also plays a not inconsiderable role in this context. All we can do is intensify our work, and the everlasting key is visibility at all levels – no matter what the cost.