Diversity is imperative for the success of companies today. As the call grows for leadership teams to adopt a more inclusive outlook on hiring and management practices, leaders grapple with how to do it. These tips can help leaders do more than talk about inclusivity and incorporate it into their leadership styles.
Inclusivity as an Organizational Ethos
Those who want to put inclusive leadership into practice must start with the guiding principles of the organizations. Leaders should work principles of diversity and inclusivity into mission statements, organizational goals, and policies and procedures. Organizations could include diversity quotas for hiring practices, account for non-traditional backgrounds and transferable skills, and create programs for inclusive promotions. Include progress of organizational inclusion goals in annual reports and regular updates for accountability.
Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion
Many leaders may want to avoid conversations about diversity and inclusion because it may make them feel uncomfortable or out of fear that the reputation of the organization may suffer. Turning a blind eye to problems is not leadership. By having tough conversations and seeking the frank input of employees, organizations can identify problems and gaps in policies. Instead of taking a defensive approach, leaders should recognize their limitations, engage, emphasize, and install a culture in which employees feel safe to share experiences.
Interactions with Inclusion in Mind
Understanding the background and common issues in the workplace that people have can help prevent problems in interactions and create a more inclusive environment. Leaders should actively listen to make sure that the appropriate person gets credit for an idea, even if someone else reiterates it. Ensuring that a diverse representation of employees is a part of key decisions can create inclusivity in policies. A log of who takes notes, gets or makes coffee, or performs other tasks for meetings can give leaders an idea of unequal distributions of labor.
Creating a culture of inclusion as a leader does take a lot of commitment. It also means rethinking the structures and ordinary ways that organizations operate. Bias often occurs due to the creation of rules and processes with only one type of person in mind. Expanding those processes to include the way others work and live can help create true inclusion.