Date: Sat, 6 Jan, 1996 18:00 CST

Here is information on the book "A Manager's Guide to Sexual Orientation in the Workplace", including information from the book and a review by a member of Out at Work (or Not). The book's authors are Bob Powers and Alan Ellis. It was published in 1995 by Routledge, ISBN 0-415-91277-6, $25 (hardcover). It can be found in the Business section of major bookstores.

From the dust cover of the book

For the first time ever, managers have a tool that will enable them to effectively grapple with the controversial, and sometimes explosive issues surrounding sexual orientation in the workplace. Cultivated from Bob Powers' twenty-five years of business experience with some of the world's finest organizations, "A Manager's Guide to Sexual Orientation in the Workplace" provides managers with the knowledge, skills, and resources to foster higher productivity through an inclusive environment.

Managers are introduced to thirteen diverse workers who relate their remarkable life histories about being gay, bisexual, and heterosexual in the workplace. The are then shown how sexual orientation impacts workplace productivity and how a welcoming and inclusive work environment results in positive performance. To initiate the inclusive environment, managers are provide with methods and techniques proven successful in workplaces throughout America and the world. Bob Powers and Alan Ellis offer clear guidelines to select diversity-sensitive employees, provide feedback and recognition, and reward success to cultivate the inclusive work environment. As workers shift their energies away from hiding their sexual orientation, workplace productivity increases to achieve and exceed goals and objectives.

In this easy-to-read guide, CEO's, human resources directors, and managers alike will find the best resource available to successfully manage sexual orientation issues in the workplace. "A Manager's Guide to Sexual Orientation in the Workplace" provides managers with the means to effectively communicate the company message of openness and inclusion through the work force, and teach everyone to celebrate the riches of diversity and the benefits such a work force will bring.

(The dust cover and preface also include very positive quotes from senior executives at Amoco, Citicorp, Pac-Tel, Salomon Brothers, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the American Society for Training and Development, and Harvard Business School.)

Our Review

"A Manager's Guide to Sexual Orientation in the Workplace" contains interesting life stories of a number of people, including employees, managers, family, friends and co-workers. There is something for everyone to relate to in the auto-biographies, and the authors follow each with their observations on the workplace impact of the facts that have been disclosed.

Two chapters are particularly useful. "Gaining Skills, Techniques for Managers" provides information on hiring diversity-sensitive employees, setting performance expectations, and developing the skills of feedback, recognition and rewards. Bob and Alan successfully transfer skills that are relevant in managing any type of employee (minority or not), and provide tips relevant for managing sexual minorities.

The chapter entitled "Making it Work, Diversity in Action" covers topics such as "Inclusion Equals Performance", and "Equal Benefits: Not So Costly After All". A model diversity policy is presented and discussed, and a list of ideas on how to make the workplace more inclusive is provided. Importantly, practical tips are given on how to avoid alienation and controversy while still acheiving the organization's diversity and other business goals.

The authors make a convincing case that sexual minority issues are workplace issues. They de-mystify the gay culture, and remove the fear often associated with learning about and discussing lesbigay issues in the workplace. Most of all, they provide simple techniques which can easily improve oneself as a manager and the organization as a whole. The section entitled "101 Ways to Make your Workplace More Inclusive" can also be used as a checklist for evaluating the current work environment and recommending positive changes.

A full 40 pages contain a useful resource guide in areas of consultants, lesbigay business organizations, company-sponsored employee groups, community organizations (including support, legal, marketing and investment), an index of recent news articles and books related to workplace issues, and additional resources on topics such as lesbigay history, mental health, lesbian and gay parenting and AIDS. Most of the publications referenced were from recent years, reflecting the most current information available.

This book is an easy read. We recommend it for all executives, managers, and human resources staff.

Copyright 1996 by John J. Kinyon. May be reprinted with attribution.

OUT AT WORK (OR NOT) provides networking, resources and support for gay/lesbian/bisexual employee groups, employees, and the general business community. For further information, please contact us at 312-794-5218, or P.O. Box 359, Chicago, IL 60690-0359, or e-mail Our web page is located at:

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(Last update: 5 March 1996)