Be an Inclusive Leader

8 min

If we don’t adapt what we give our employees, we’re implicitly expecting them to all be the same and excluding those who are different.

To be an inclusive leader, don’t treat everyone the same — provide the same opportunities.

Here are five tactics as a leader that you can use to create equity on your team:


1. Recognize differences


Belonging doesn’t mean being the same.

Diminishing differences means you can’t capitalize on your employees' unique talents and perspectives, and it also makes you blind to slights or other exclusions.


E.g., If you’re blind to gender, you might not notice that only men are speaking at your quarterly company all-hands meeting.

2. Recognize micro-inequities

Micro-inequities (n)subtle ways in which individuals are either singled out, overlooked, ignored, or otherwise discounted based on an unchangeable characteristic such as race or gender.

Definitely an area where some employees will need more of your support than others!

Be on the lookout for these small actions that harm your people, especially your actions.

“Most people are blind to the everyday moments that leave others feeling excluded.”



Jeanine Prime, leader of the Catalyst Research Center for Advancing Leader Effectiveness

3. Foster development

Providing development opportunities is an antidote to exclusion.

Pay attention to your people’s strengths and areas for growth, and afford them opportunities.


Individualized opportunities
will show your people you honor their uniqueness.


E.g., Challenge an introvert to lead a new project.


Whereas group opportunities will show lack of favoritism.

For example...

4. Seek input publicly


“Inclusive leaders do a good job of drawing out the unique perspectives of different followers and engaging with those different points of view.

-- Jeanine Prime

Actively seek out your employees’ input, especially with introverted folks who may be shyer to share.


This signals to the individual that you value their contribution, and demonstrates that everyone has value. Not to mention that you’ll get to benefit from the diverse opinions on your team.

5. Never stop

Inclusion is never “done.” Keep at it and it will become a natural part of your management.

Quiz 1 of 1

Which tactic to foster inclusion did this manager demonstrate?

a
Recognizing differences
b
Recognizing micro-inequities
c
Fostering development
d
Seeking input publicly

The manager demonstrated B: recognizing micro-inequities.

He acknowledged an instance where he overlooked his employee, and outlined steps he is taking to make amends.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP:

Print out this cheat sheet and keep it on hand as a reminder to use the five inclusion tactics.

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