In a recent webinar (access the recording here), we discussed the 5 key areas to embed inclusive leadership within a company culture. The dictionary defines the word embed as “to enclose closely in or as if in a matrix” or, “to make something an integral part of”. No word better describes the relationship between inclusion and leadership behavior as a driver of culture change. Inclusion that is not embedded will not sustain and, in turn, will fail to impact companies’ ability to attract talent and innovate at the highest level. Being able to “embed” anything is no small task, and doing so while navigating the complexities of team culture, and individuals’ daily lives make it that much more daunting of a proposition.
With that said, research and technology have allowed us to pinpoint the key areas we can embed behavior and culture change that will change workplaces in a way that even the most inspirational one-off training can’t. Here are the key areas that present the greatest opportunity to embed an inclusive culture within teams on a daily basis.
The 5 key areas to Embed Inclusive Leadership
Meetings are one of the best opportunities for a leader to embed inclusion on their teams. Events like these allow leaders the opportunity to lead by example which permeates culture change throughout teams and companies. They are also great ways to enlist input from team members and facilitate idea-sharing that catalyzes innovation.
Hiring is the critical area where leaders can build and embed an inclusive culture from the ground up. But most leaders (by no fault of their own) do not know that inclusion is vital to mitigating unconscious biases that impact their ability to objectively and effectively hire the right people for the right position. Failing to do so, sets new hires up for failure and leaves teams vulnerable to attrition.
Leaders must be able to analyze performance with an awareness of their personal biases and the cognitive diversity of their team members. Being able to evaluate and manage performance inclusively is a vital skill that sets team members up for success and establishes trust which benefits the overall team.
Stretch assignments, mentoring, succession planning. All of these (and more) are great opportunities for leaders to grow their team members’ skills, advance their careers, and build better relationships. But does a leader know how to objectively and effectively delegate tasks? Do they know how to facilitate and grow valuable mentoring relationships? How do they go about choosing and preparing the right candidate for their succession plan? Do they know how to build team chemistry in a way that is inclusive and truly fosters ideation?
Strategy and Planning
A leaders’ ability to use inclusion to craft the right strategy sets the table for how they manage and evaluate their teams going forward. Leaders need to be trained in the art of crafting a strategy that addresses the nuances of team culture as it relates to overall success. They also stand to benefit by better synthesizing the “big picture” to mitigate biases and involve their team in strategic planning. This sets the table for a team that is focused and bought-in to a collective vision of success.
But how we harness these areas to sustain impactful culture change?
To be able to harness these areas to the benefit of their team culture and productivity, leaders will be challenged to apply the right focuses and behaviors at the right time during their daily workdays. But how can we expect leaders to remember these behaviors and instinctually recognize moments to apply them during their busy personal and professional lives? Technology has not only allowed us to recognize these five focus areas, but it allows us to deliver the necessary training to leaders at the exact times they will need it most.
So where is your current training successful (or not) in equipping leaders to harness these 5 areas to embed inclusive leadership and foster a culture that is more inclusive and productive? Demo this virtual coach app for a more in-depth discussion.
About Lead Inclusively
Lead Inclusively is a technology-enabled Diversity and Inclusion Consulting firm devoted to developing leaders, teams, and organizations to leverage Diversity and Inclusion as an accelerator for business performance. Our collective experience has been that diversity only assures that we have a mix of different people in the workplace. Diverse people in a non-inclusive workplace may be retained for some period of time, but without inclusion, they will not thrive, advance, or become strong team collaborators. Our Unique Diversity and Inclusion solutions ensure impactful and sustained transformation in your Leadership Development, Culture, Team, and Performance.