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HR Leader DEI Roundtable: In discussion with Joe Hart

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
HR Leader DEI Roundtable: In discussion with Joe Hart

Joe Hart, principal psychologist and director at True Perspective, joined the HR Leader Roundtable to talk diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), what it means to him, and areas where it can fall behind in the workplace.

Shandel McAuliffe, editor at HR Leader: “What does DEI mean at True Perspective?”

Mr Hart: “True Perspective... is a leadership development practice and primarily I partner with businesses as a solo business owner. So, leadership development is the primary area that I work in.”


“Diversity and inclusion, for me, is really about having a workplace that enables people to be really effective, regardless of their background, their differences. Whether that be gender, race, sexuality, whatever it might be, the primary focus is about effectiveness at work,” he said.

Editor: “In terms of DEI outside of gender and culture, what do you see happening in workplaces”?

Mr Hart said: “Neurodiversity is becoming quite popular,” adding: “it’s great in that people are embracing the opportunity to express themselves.”

He also commented on, “the idea of vulnerability and authenticity in leadership, it goes only so far if somebody doesn’t feel safe to actually express what it is that they’re struggling with.”

Editor: “What do you think about people being open about mental health in the workplace?”

Mr Hart: “The big one we have a long way to go with is mental health. Mental health is a challenge for people to speak openly about. When they’re healthy, they say, ‘Of course, that’s the right thing to do, and of course I’d be willing to share my struggles with people,’ until they’re unhealthy and then they don’t want to talk about it and they withdraw, which is completely okay and potentially a normal response.”

“So, what are we doing when we’re in the position of privilege to enable people to open up and discuss and reflect; I think that’s the challenge. When we’re feeling a position of privilege, it’s very easy just to agree and sign off on a policy, but when we’re in a position of underprivilege or we’re experiencing that bias or that stereotype threat, I think that’s where we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Mr Hart is a strong advocate for being able to relate to others. The HR Leader has previously spoken with him about his passion for perspective seeking. In conversation on a podcast recorded in August this year, Mr Hart shared:

“To be able to take a different perspective to the one that you’re currently taking, or to actually step inside somebody else’s shoes, from a leadership and an HR standpoint, that’s really powerful. What we’re really talking about is empathy…”

The transcript of this roundtable episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full conversation from the event is at the link below.


Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.