Do employees at your organization feel isolated, ignored and invisible…or included? People take jobs for a paycheck; they keep jobs when they feel a sense of purpose, appreciation and inclusion.
Your organization’s leaders have likely recruited a diverse workforce that includes a range of ages, ethnicities, religions and differing viewpoints; however, diversity is only half of the D&I equation. Creating an inclusive culture requires another level of effort that may not be getting the attention and investment it needs. Alarmingly, only 12 percent of executives today believe their organizations are driving the right culture.
To create a culture in which everyone feels they belong and is comfortable expressing their uniqueness, adopt four key inclusive leadership behaviors:
- Empowerment: Enable team members to grow and excel by encouraging them to solve problems, come up with new ideas and develop new skills. Rather than offering solutions when employees come to you with problems, ask them questions to try to have them come up with the solution themselves.
- Accountability: Show confidence in team members by holding them responsible for aspects of their performance that are within their control.
- Courage: Stand up for what you believe is right, even when it means taking a risk. As Brené Brown says, “You can have courage or you can have comfort; you can’t have both. They are mutually exclusive.”
- Humility: Admit mistakes, learn from criticism and different points of view, and overcome your limitations by seeking contributions from ALL team members. This gets people engaged and sends a signal that everyone’s contribution matters. When done well, this creates openings for everyone to weigh in and, hopefully, inspire lively discussions and decisive actions.
An inclusive culture has many layers and millions of moments that define it. And as a leader, if you want to make a real impact and display an ongoing commitment to employees and colleagues, choose to adopt these four leadership behaviors and then take incremental steps to make your workplace a more inclusive—and likely more successful—environment right now.