How Can Managers Promote Inclusion on Their Teams?

4 min

Diversity programs are often sets of rules and requirements prescribed to management. The goal is to avoid lawsuits and fulfill numerical quotas, not to be more inclusive.

But as Sebastian Thrun showed, going outside of Stanford's walls to include a more diverse student group helped unlock hidden value.

Being inclusive means making an effort to hear all voices and make all people comfortable.


While it can take calculated effort, it actually helps teams perform better.

To foster an inclusive workplace:

1. Set an inclusive tone for your team

Let your team know that you're taking initiative to foster inclusiveness. Explain what types of behaviors you'll be modeling, and encourage the team to do the same.

2. Practice inclusive communication

People often communicate in ways that can inadvertently alienate others. By removing biases in your communications, you can create a more inclusive environment.

3. Run inclusive meetings

Meetings can be great venues to share ideas, but it takes a conscious effort. Make your meetings a space where everyone is encouraged to voice opinions and ideas.

4. Encourage interaction across lines of difference

Help your team take advantage of the different people, perspectives, and skills in your organization. Facilitate a workplace where people from different teams and backgrounds can interact and collaborate.

Quiz 1 of 1

Your team has two members who joined a few months ago. They’re not new anymore, but you’ve noticed that they speak less often, especially in meetings. What’s one way to include them in the conversation?

a
Telling them at their appraisal that there will be consequences if they don’t participate.
b
Asking them for their opinion on every new topic that you present to the group.
c
Letting them remain silent and then privately asking for their opinion every day.
d
Giving them low-pressure opportunities to speak up like a group sharing exercise.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP:

Think of one way your company or your team could be more inclusive. What steps can you take to get there?

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