4 Leadership Practices for an Inclusive Workplace

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Inclusive workplaces create an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation by encouraging diversity in thought and perspective. They also help to create a more productive work environment by eliminating discrimination, harassment, and prejudice. Research shows that companies that are more inclusive and diverse have a 35% higher chance of outperforming their competitors. 

Inclusive workplaces are a must for any successful organization as they promote team spirit, trust among employees, and ultimately better business results. By creating an open culture that values different perspectives, organizations can tap into the full potential of their workforce while creating a positive work environment for everyone involved.

The majority of organizations do their best to create this type of environment, however, it is impossible to achieve without the support and reinforcement of managers and leaders.

It is important to note that inclusive leadership does not mean making large gestures. Instead, it is about a variety of smaller commitments and actions. In this article, we share four leadership practices that can help you create a more inclusive organizational culture.

Offer DEI Training

Whether you like it or not, in today’s diverse and inclusive workplace, it is more than necessary for managers to understand the importance of diversity equity and inclusion. DEI training can help managers to create a safe and welcoming work environment for all employees, regardless of their race, gender, religion, or other differences.

It can also help managers to recognize and address any potential issues that may arise due to these differences. Training in this area can provide managers with the necessary tools to ensure that everyone in the organization is treated fairly and respectfully. By providing diversity equity and inclusion training for managers, organizations are taking an important step toward creating a workplace culture where everyone feels valued.

This type of training will provide your managers, recruiting staff, and HR department with the skills to attract and retain top talent from diverse backgrounds. By doing this, you’ll be a step closer to becoming a future-ready business.

Deepen Your Self-Awareness

One of the main leadership practices for an inclusive work environment is building a foundation of personal understanding. This may include asking for feedback, admitting your mistakes, reflecting on your own background and social identity, talking about your feelings and experiences, or advocating for yourself.

To be able to engage in acts of inclusion, you need a high degree of self-awareness, an understanding of your own biases, strengths, and weaknesses, and being comfortable in your skin. Learning how to boost your self-awareness and be more confident will ultimately be reflected in all other acts of inclusive leadership.

Practice Active Listening

Being an active listener is one of the most defining traits of an inclusive leader. Active listening is an essential skill that can help you build strong relationships and better understand the people around you. It involves being fully present and focused on the person who is speaking, actively paying attention to what they are saying, and responding with thoughtful questions.

As a workplace leader, you are given the opportunity to develop effective listening skills in everyday conversations, whether your employees may be sharing family stories or asking for your assistance in completing a difficult task.

By practicing active listening, you can create a safe environment for open communication and foster meaningful conversations.

Build Courage

Inclusive leadership requires a lot of courage. In today’s world, leaders need to build courage if they want to lead with an inclusive mindset. They must also learn to get used to feelings of discomfort and be willing to take risks. It may be necessary to challenge an existing system or to raise concerns about others. If, for example, an organization always recruits through networking, the leader could speak up and ask that they consider inclusion when recruiting. Speak up and you may find that your ideas are being questioned or challenged. Inclusive leaders dare to speak up anyway.

Inclusion requires courage, but also vulnerability and humility. Inclusive leaders reflect on the biases and bad behaviors they possess, as well as what changes they should make. They must admit that they are wrong and do not know the answer to every question. Leaders need to stop focusing on the old notion of a leader being seen as an individual hero and replace it with a leader who is viewed as a team member.

Final Thoughts

Inclusive leadership is all about knowing how to leverage diverse thinking within a workforce with increasingly diverse markets, clients, and talents. With the right training and by practicing active listening and developing greater self-awareness, you’ll be able to create a workplace based on strong diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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