Ever wondered what makes employees feel at ease and confident in organizations? Feel as though they are respected, treated fairly, and part of something? While many things, such as the goals, procedures, and rules of a company play a pivotal role in employee inclusion, one aspect that drives positivity and zeal is none other than the act of inclusive leadership.
Inclusive leaders adapt quickly to alternate perspectives and diverse scenarios with a non-judgmental and open mind to achieve the best possible results. A genuine leadership approach forbids favoritism and discrimination and enables employees to feel respected for their opinions, learning styles, communication abilities, etc. Research suggests that when done right, inclusive leadership can offer countless benefits; employees perform better, and there is collaboration and satisfaction.
On the other hand, according to a recent report by DDI, only 31% of employees believe that their leaders provide an inclusive environment. In other words, fewer than a third of workers think their leaders appreciate, value, and view them as a whole. This statistic begs the need for leaders to let go of traditional modes of conduct and adopt inclusivity at all levels. But how? This article describes the seven most effective tips for becoming an inclusive leader.
- Create a stable and supportive environment
The most important and effective way to become an inclusive leader is to create an environment that supports all employees. According to a multi-year Google study, a team’s success is influenced by various factors, not just its members’ IQs or traditional talents. However, real success comes from creating a psychologically supportive environment for your team. To that end, leadership training, in the form of short courses, can teach potential leaders the skills they need to influence their teams and create an all-inclusive environment effectively.
Furthermore, creating a supportive environment entails free and open communication and learning about the struggles of each employee so that no one is left behind. Additionally, inclusive leaders must be transparent about themselves and their decision-making, how their decision-making will change, and what they expect from the team. Lastly, inclusive leaders must set a tone of authenticity from the top and do their best to create a sense of “oneness” among their employees.
- Ask the right questions
The second most important tip for becoming an inclusive leader is to develop an inquisitive attitude. After all, a greater understanding of why something is so important is only possible by asking questions, exploring ideas, and seeking to promote inclusion and diversity.
Inclusive leaders must also keep an open mind to employees’ personalities, differences, and other characteristics, as well as to what demotivates or drives them. Additionally, inclusive leaders must avoid making assumptions and, even when it’s challenging, push themselves to ask “why.” In the end, “why” is what connects with both employees’ hearts and heads and dismantles barriers. Thus, promoting inclusivity.
- Prioritize cultural additions
People who fit an organization’s culture embody its values and may even be your ideal friends. Hiring those that share your values is easier for any organization, but this practice promotes exclusivity and bias.
Inclusive leaders should place greater emphasis on cultural additions rather than cultural fits. Culture additions aim to enrich your organization with fresh experiences, voices, and viewpoints. Also, remember that hiring a cultural ad is not only about checking the “diversity box.” It is mainly about filling your team with meaningfully different people who share a common goal.
- Create a diverse team
Having a diverse staff is crucial to inclusive leadership.
Inclusive leaders must actively work toward having a diverse team. If you look around and see that everyone in the group comes from the same background or thinks similarly, you need to concentrate on diversifying.
In addition to encouraging individuals already on your team to think differently, you may achieve this by altering your hiring and promotion procedures. According to Mckinsey, diverse and inclusive groups are 35% more likely to reap productive results and outperform their competitors. Furthermore, there might be a chance for your staff to be already diverse, but they may be unwilling to express their ideas due to the workplace culture.
- Collaboration is key
Leaders are often making decisions from mountaintops, and because of this, they often miss out on essential things.
Embracing collective effort can allow leaders to accentuate team members and identify meaningful solutions for the business. In addition, with more people present, there are far more opportunities to overcome bias. This is especially true if the team includes members with different perspectives.
To become an inclusive leader, you must consider your employees’ experiences and cherish their perspectives. You should also consider their opinions when discussing diversity initiatives with your company.
- Ensure commitment
Inclusive leadership isn’t a “set and forget” approach; it requires constant commitment. That said, leaders must be willing to demonstrate a passion for continuous development. After all, new ways of collaborating, talking, and working are always being introduced, so being aware of all the latest additions in inclusivity can prove helpful for leaders.
Other than that, inclusive leaders must understand that no one has all the facts and that looking for opportunities to improve their leadership abilities and those of the entire team is essential. Examples of how to show a dedication to continuous commitment include:
- Being willing to take criticism to heart and try again after failing
- Making an effort to get rid of prejudices and obsolete ideas
- Taking advantage of continuing chances for training and growth
Furthermore, when leaders show a passion for inclusive commitment, they enforce a healthier team culture and motivate their employees to develop and work to their full potential.
- Be wary of the challenges
Inclusion begins with an appreciation of how people function. However, some institutional behaviors and institutions, including the insatiable need for efficiency, can undermine even the most successful initiatives for inclusiveness. Thus, leaders must be willing to identify these hindrances and plan a movement to manage them.
While there may be many roadblocks to cultivating inclusive change, bias still ranks highly. Thus, leaders must be able to identify biases. The halo effect, ageism, and beauty bias are typical examples. It’s what we can’t easily see about people, such as how they think, decide, work best, etc.
Also, according to research, most leaders are less inclusive than they believe. They exaggerate their efforts to be inclusive. In conclusion? Watch out for the self-perception trap.
Furthermore, watching out for anything that has the potential to crack your inclusive foundation can not only support your inclusion initiative but also improve your leadership.
The concept of inclusive leadership affects a variety of behaviors. Inclusive leadership can change the culture and create better working environments for everyone when used persistently and intelligently.
The tips mentioned in this article offer great insight to help leaders take charge of their position and promote an appropriate, healthy, safe, and effective environment for everyone.
Finally, the road to becoming a more inclusive leader demands ongoing learning. The methods and tricks for increasing diversity may continue. Thus, inclusive leaders must be willing to learn and adjust to new behaviors if they wish to make a difference.