Over time, leaders of organizations have chosen to incorporate various styles of leadership for their employees. One such style of leadership is inclusive leadership. According to Indeed, “Inclusive leadership can help an organization grow over time.” So, what defines inclusivity and inclusive leadership? Inclusivity is defined as the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. Similarly, an inclusive leader creates a comfortable, confident, and secure environment for colleagues to have open conversations about recommendations and ideas. Such conversations do not necessarily have to be easy. They can also be tough and uncomfortable. The straightforward meaning of inclusive leadership is that nobody should be feeling left out in any way. This blog will discuss tips and tricks for leaders to prioritize inclusivity with their colleagues and employees.
Qualities of an Inclusive Leader
A lot of people view humility as a sign of weakness. It’s the complete opposite. Being humble shows that you, as a leader, are willing to accept your flaws, and are aware of both your strengths and limitations. No one is superhuman. At some point, everyone faces obstacles and hardships at work, including and especially leaders. According to Forbes, “when people are asked about the stereotypical traits of leaders, they tend to talk about self-confidence, assertiveness, taking charge, solving problems, inspiring others, risk-taking and action-orientation.” Yes, leaders should have these qualities, however, they should not let these qualities drown out the rest of their capabilities and emotions. After all, leaders are also human beings who are bound to make mistakes. However, great leader takes responsibility for everything they take upon themselves and their organization.
According to Entrepreneur, “the key to any good relationship is communication that goes both ways.” Communication is the main element that holds any relationship together, both personal and professional. As a leader, you need to ensure that everyone receives information at the same time. The best way to communicate is to use appropriate mechanisms such as email, text or instant messages, and phone calls. Most organizations use email or instant message platforms like Slack as their main general communication channel so that they don’t need to repeat the same information to different people, and it’s easier to track past announcements. Clear and transparent communication results in a stronger working relationship. You want to build a rapport with your colleagues to earn their trust. Your colleagues need to know that they can trust you. Not only hearing from them but also addressing their needs and concerns will help strengthen their connection to your workplace. This, in turn, increases employee retention as well as loyalty and trust in your leadership.
One of the most common phrases we’ve all heard in life is to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”. Empathy is key to retaining employees. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share one another’s feelings. Trying to feel for each other at work is crucial for an organization to succeed. There is no doubt that work can be tiring and stressful. But being an empathizing leader for your colleagues will help you get through any curveballs that work will throw at you. Acknowledging and improving empathy decreases stress, builds positive relationships, and increases profit in the long run. You need to show your colleagues that you hear their feedback and will continue to work to improve their experiences as employees. These action-driven steps can include encouraging vacation time, stepping up to help them out, giving them a chance to breathe, and encouraging them to ask for help from teammates.
Constructive feedback can only help you improve your organization along with its products and services. As a leader, you should implement feedback from employees as well as give feedback to your employees to enable your organization to stand out from its competitors and thrive to the fullest. It is important to have a stable relationship with your employees to be able to give them constructive feedback. On the other hand, your employees should also have the freedom to freely express their thoughts and opinions and have their feedback taken seriously. Companies should get an honest opinion on where they stand. Feedback can help build a loyal and trustworthy relationship between managers and employees, as long as the feedback is genuine.
Be Mindful of Your Language
Sensitivity to language is crucial to having a successful workplace culture. Triggering words and phrases do not necessarily need to be curse words, so being mindful of slang or other harmful terms is important for all employees to feel safe and supported at work. The inclusive language emphasizes acknowledging and respecting all cultures and using the appropriate language to respect people of all identities and abilities. For leaders in a workplace, it is imperative to stay educated on how best to build a culture of inclusivity, by the words they say, the actions they take, and the standards they uphold in the workplace.
Share Your Boundaries
Your boundaries are yours to express and enforce to your colleagues and employees. Most leaders feel like they must be there for every one of their colleagues throughout the day. That’s not possible because they are juggling so many priorities of their own. As a leader, you need to set boundaries with your colleagues. There is no doubt that your colleagues will need you for something or the other. The best way to create a boundary is by asking them to check whether your schedule matches theirs. After all, you can’t be in multiple places at once. Creating boundaries maintains a safe distance between you and your colleagues professionally and personally. This will not only allow your colleagues to respect you, but it’ll also allow you to model to your colleagues how to set healthy work and communication boundaries.
Connect with Your Team
A team is a team irrespective of any differences between team members – such as location or otherwise. Your teammates are your support system for any problems you may face professionally and can occasionally support you in any issues outside of the workplace. Good eggs don’t come along often. Truth be told, they are pretty hard to find. The best things in life are friendships made at work that blossom even more outside of work. Work brings out the best and worst emotions in all of us. Teammates can be shoulders to cry on or accountability buddies for getting even the most mundane tasks done on time.
Be Open to Fresh Perspectives
According to Forbes, building an inclusive culture “takes deliberate actions, starting with you demonstrating inclusive leadership behaviors.” A great way to do this is to ensure you have hired a diverse team. Diversity and inclusivity are a package deal. Diversity in the workplace refers to making sure your organization’s workforce is inclusive of people of all backgrounds and representative of all demographics and populations. Such demographic and population groups can be defined by religious background, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical abilities, and ideologies. Leaders and mentors should allow their employees and mentees to connect and learn from the diversity of experiences represented within their teams. A diverse team brings out fresh ideas and perspectives during group projects and assignments.
Have One-on-One Meetings
One-on-one meetings keep employees grounded and secure at work. These are a type of meeting held between a manager and their employee, often regularly, that involves discussing growth, performance, development, and motivation. It doesn’t matter how often they occur, and they should be a recurring calendar event. According to Forbes, “a humble and curious question goes a long way toward building better empathy and situational awareness.” These meetings will give you a chance to be curious and ask your colleagues questions about their experiences. Who knows? They may just inspire your leadership skills.
Encouraging Inclusive Leadership through Employee Experience
Inclusive leadership is a great skill to build on for everyone eager to help their organization succeed. Luckily, PxidaEX is a powerful tool to help you figure out what your employee expect out of your leadership. Sign up for a free trial today!