The 10 essential behaviors of ‘inclusionist' managers
Thursday, May 16, 2013
hear of companies that talk the diversity and inclusion talk, but fail to walk
the walk. Workplace change won’t happen if the people at the top are not "inclusionist”
leaders who create cultures where people
love to do their best work and customers love to do business.
leaders share these 10 behaviors:
1. Inclusionists get to know
employees every day. They
don’t wait for a crisis to ask employees their names, how they are doing, or
solicit ideas to improve the organization.
2. Inclusionists are not afraid to
learn from hourly employees.
These leaders are too secure to feel threatened by other smart people, no
matter where they are in the org chart. They don’t "dumb down” or condescend.
They raise people to higher levels. They focus on building employees’
A client once
asked me to coach one of his managers who constantly yelled at and belittled her
employees. Productivity was suffering and people were leaving. Unfortunately,
this woman was beyond coaching. Antonia was sure she needed to "set her
employees straight.” My client had no choice but to let her go so that the team
could flourish under a new manager who listened.
3. Inclusionists educate others. They educate vendors, contractors
and others about the company’s culture and inclusionist behavior.
security guard at the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum told two women
they couldn’t hold hands in the museum. When the executive director was
informed, she apologized to the women, relieved the security guard and took
full responsibility. The security company was educated about the inclusive
values of the museum and told that anyone who does not share those values will
not be in any official capacity at the museum.
4. Inclusionists treat people as
don’t use clichés like, "I treat
everybody the same.” If I treated everyone the same, then everyone would get
the same pay, rewards and feedback. If I treated everyone the same, I wouldn’t
know how to seek and leverage the diverse talents, skills and experience of
people in my workplace.
5. Inclusionists cast a wide net when
hiring. They train
recruiters and others involved in the hiring process to look at more than just
communication style assessments. Inclusionists look at the whole person and
know that talent exists beyond where someone falls on a quadrant.
6. Inclusionists appreciate
different styles of leadership. I’ve
worked in more than one company where talented women who were continuously
bypassed for promotion left to join competitors. When I asked the CEO of a
client organization why he never promoted key women, he said, "Those women just
weren’t strategic enough, I need to find better ones.” It took him a while to
understand that everyone does not need to be his thinking clone and that there are
different ways to be strategic and increase profit.
7. Inclusionists engage new
employees. They create
processes that teach new employees the stated rules and policies — and the unwritten
rules and paths to success. Employees can only accelerate their growth and
success when they know the culture of the organization.
8. Inclusionists LBO (Look Behind
the Obvious). They
recognize, develop and promote employees who may not fit the traditional mold. Inclusionist leaders spend time to
uncover "hidden genius” and look
beyond the obvious candidates from the best schools with 4.0 grade point
averages. (That formula would exclude Steve Jobs.)
9. Inclusionists take responsibility. They hold themselves and their managers
accountable for employees’ ability to articulate the organization’s mission,
values and culture. They also hold
themselves and their managers accountable for employee behavior.
10. Inclusionists follow through. They keep their promises and model
inclusive behavior. They don’t talk about life/work balance and then get angry
if someone doesn’t work 12 hours a day. People trust them to do what they say.
all, an inclusionist leader always asks "What if I’m wrong?” and "What if the
other person is right?”
internationally known as "The Inclusionist,” is a diversity and inclusion and
culture change consultant, speaker and coach.
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