5 Simple Steps to Becoming an Inclusive Leader

Did you know that management can have a huge influence on their employee’s performance? Recent studies suggest that when employees feel respected by their leader, they will ultimately perform at their best, which, more often than not, will lead to higher company profit in the long run. So now you may be asking yourself…how does one become a more inclusive leader for your employees? To become an inclusive leader, you must create a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully – and who can contribute fully to the whole organization’s success. 

It’s important as a leader to keep improving – just as your employees do with their skillset & knowledge. This is something that will take time and a continuous routine. Remember to incorporate your own management style as well as use our recommendations along the way. Here are our recommended steps to take to become a more effective & inclusive leader for your organization.

Be Transparent

When you’re more transparent, ultimately you reveal that you have nothing to hide. You establish yourself as an honest, trustworthy individual in the eyes of other people – especially your team members. For example, sharing financial KPI’s with your team is extremely important. By doing so, you’re basically inviting them to connect their own performance to the organization’s success & growth. This connection will allow them to view the future of the company differently. The result – they will take ownership of the brand. 

Encourage Open Dialogue

Do your absolute best to frame the open discussion in a positive direction. Remember you’re not trying to provoke any sort of argument amongst your employees. Then your team members can then make informed decisions together. For example, frame the discussion by starting with something like this, “I think we are all on the same page about making our process better, but before we get too far along with it, I want to get everyone’s input. We’ve set aside 20 minutes to have this conversation & make a final decision together.” 

Value Employee Feedback

 A great way to get healthy feedback is to ask your employees for it. As Google CEO Eric Schmidt once said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.” By asking your employees what they think, you’re allowing them to speak up and explain their own ideas. Most importantly, reward those who challenge you on your own thoughts. Receiving valuable feedback from your employees can lead to improved retention rates, greater loyalty, and above all better employee engagement. 

Embrace Collaboration Among your Employees

As employees’ skill sets become more specialized, collaboration in the workplace will be more important than ever before. Collaboration has many benefits and can help a group of people come together to contribute their expertise for a shared goal and/or project. This is a great opportunity for employees to learn new skills & perspectives as well as build more meaningful relationships with their peers. 

Accepting That You Don’t Know Everything

As Albert Einstein once said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” The beauty of the individual is that everyone has their own unique perspective. As a leader, it’s important to steer away from the idea that, “this is how we’ve always done it & we’re going to continue to do so.” To become a more inclusive leader, you must remain open-minded as much as possible and value your employee’s thoughts. Own up to it when you are unsure of questions that your employees may ask. It’s okay to share that you are uncertain of the correct answer, but let them know that you plan on finding out that information for them. If one of your employees knows the answer, give that individual credit for knowing best practices, etc about a certain topic or process. 

Want more advice about becoming a more inclusive leader? A great book recommendation is “How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Creating Trust, Cooperation, and Community Across Differences,” by Jennifer Brown.

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