4 ways to lead inclusively
We all have unconscious bias. As a leader, you need to be aware of your blind spots to ensure you treat all people equally and delegate evenly. If not, you'll end up with team members who are hesitant to show initiative or are reluctant to put forward fresh ideas. Your team will not have confidence in you as their leader and you may offend, upset or anger a lot of people.
Here's a breakdown of the mentoring I've been giving clients about how to start handling things differently:
Identify your blind spots
The human brain has an implicit bias. Even the brightest among us have blind spots that prevent us from perceiving things objectively. I believe the best way to find these is to employ a professional or coach you trust and ask them to help you in this area. You may need an outsider to uncover and work towards eliminating these blind spots.
Improve your sense of self-awareness
Inclusivity begins with leadership. Begin by assessing how effectively you embrace and participate in inclusiveness. Make that action a priority and commit to it. Your dedication will filter throughout your business and lead to positive results.
Invest in change
It's one thing to declare your intention to change; it's another to invest money, energy and effort into making things happen. Commit time and effort to overcoming obstacles and creating possibilities. Recognise and examine your shortcomings, then look for ways to improve. Make an effort to ensure that every employee feels appreciated, knows they make a difference and feels that they belong in your organisation.
Strengthen your connections
Once you've achieved greater self-awareness, you're ready to focus on social awareness – how your attitudes and hidden biases impact your interactions. Changing an organisation's culture starts with little gestures of engagement and connectivity.
It's not easy to be an inclusive leader. Some may condemn you for your perseverance, while others will blame you for not achieving immediate outcomes. But if every leader stuck their neck out to follow this path, the business world (and the world as a whole) would be a far better place.
Change takes courage. Moving ahead is the best way to get things done sooner rather than later.
TAKEAWAY: Transformation tends to start at the top. As you're a leader, authentic, meaningful inclusion and change must start with you.