“Inclusive leadership is hard, and it’s a journey..but one that is incredibly worthwhile”
In this week’s episode of let’s talk Gianna and I have a fun and rich discussion on what inclusive leadership actually means, and how the pandemic has influenced this subject. We discuss how leaders can use inclusive leadership to create sustainable change and a more equitable and collaborative environment where all voices are heard. Such ‘deep democracy’ brings with it challenging growth and development work for leaders. We need to lean in to the discomfort, and forge ahead to achieve growth based on kindness and empathy for improved performance and well being.
Gianna shares her wealth of experience and insight with us on the challenges and successes of translating inclusive leadership into an operational reality.
The main insights you will get from this episode are :
- As the bridge between employees and employer, innovative HR leaders should foster collaboration and inclusion to create a more equitable workplace – inclusive leadership means leading everyone in the organisation, being aware of your own inclinations and biases and pursuing an active process of intentionally engaging people with different perspectives
- 2020 was seismic in many regards (specifically in the US with racial injustices and political unrest) and these ‘multiple pandemics’ all served to accelerate inclusive leadership with consciousness, which can be a painful process
- The unfortunate ‘shecession’, whereby many women left the workforce, has made sustainable inclusion more important than ever; tangible initiatives in this regard include employee-led councils for diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging, and making an organisation accountable (through statistics and data on inclusion)
- An employee led council with regular meetings of employees from all across an organisation to discuss different topics to take stock of how the organisation is doing is key; they come up with suggestions, constantly revisit topics and have access to senior leadership to pitch their ideas
- Such ‘deep democracy’ brings with it challenging growth and development work for leaders; taking a stark look in the mirror can be both positive and negative but senior leaders must see where improvements are needed.
- Shortcomings can be tackled with actions and tangible results, such as internal and external workshops, creating a shared language and a safe space for unexpressed feelings, building the EQ muscle of the organisation
- HR’s role in this slow-paced, very intentional process is to help create an environment, an forum and a platform for dialogue and to champion continuous learning; employee-led models will vary but they must always begin by listening, identifying needs, empowering employees and acting on ideas and suggestions
- HR must elevate the importance of inclusive leadership to increase the feeling of belonging in order for people to feel seen, heard and valued; it is important to give everyone the same foundation of education and understanding and to invest in people’s growth as humans
- The biggest challenge is making the business case to senior leadership and creating engagement by providing KPIs to underpin D&I efforts; every organisation must define D&I for itself, lean in to the discomfort and forge ahead to achieve growth based on kindness and empathy
- Tools such as surveys, workgroups, etc. should be used to inform and be informed across the entire organisation: do not fear failure, be authentic and make ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I’m still learning’ part of everyone’s vocabulary