How leaders can be more inclusive in the workplace begins with transparency. Sometimes, leaders are unaware of particular dynamics within the work environment that may exclude their employees from opportunities or create barriers to their success. To truly learn how leaders can be more inclusive in the workplace, these managers need to become more educated about how and why this happens. Leaders must first understand why they choose not to invite people into their “workspace.” There are obvious answers to this such as whether it’s based on race, gender, or sexuality, but what about the other factors that create silos in the workplace?

An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. Jack Welch

When leaders make this kind of mistake by creating an insulated culture, they undermine the very mission of diversity and cultural competency they claim to uphold.

Pillars of an Organizational Foundation

When we say “diversity and cultural competence,” we are referencing a core value of an organization. This value states that each employee in an organization should be given an opportunity to improve in regard to their work environment. It also says that an inclusive work environment is one in which all individuals can thrive, succeed, and have access to opportunities based on their talents and skills. Some employees often misunderstand these goals as though they are being rejected or belittled because of who they are. Through effective communication and increased transparency, leaders can be made aware of these dynamics to more actively combat them. Being proactive about the process for promotions and being able to share this information is critical to maintaining transparency within an organization.

Examples of Inclusive Leadership

A prime example of how leaders can be more inclusive in the workplace comes from the military. Here, leaders set the tone for an inclusive culture through a uniform dress code. Uniforms help to define expectations and promote cooperation. Another example is that officers in the military must wear a uniform every time they are authorized to carry firearms. This helps to ensure that uniformity is maintained and promotes unity among officers. The same concept applies to other organizations, including schools, businesses, and the nonprofit industry. There are many other ways that a leader can be more inclusive in the workplace. An inclusive culture should not just be stated; it needs to be visualized. Effective communication and leadership practices go a long way in creating this atmosphere. Leaders should ensure that they communicate their expectations to employees early on. They should also ensure that these expectations are routinely reviewed to ensure that they are still current. The results of an inclusive culture can be dramatic. People who have access to equal opportunities in the workplace enjoy greater job satisfaction, higher productivity, and improved morale. People who feel like they belong, contribute more, and those who feel valued become determined to make things work when they face obstacles. Organizations can reap tremendous benefits when they incorporate these principles into their structure. Employees can also sense that they are respected and that the company supports them.

Creating Transparency in the Workplace

One of the primary reasons leaders need to be more inclusive is that they deal with people regularly. If your business culture does not have an inclusive culture, your team will have difficulty growing and advancing. This is because leaders become too focused on maintaining their isolation and fail to see the other team members out of context. This results in poor communication skills and can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Inclusiveness allows the employees to step up their performance by giving them more responsibility. It empowers them because they feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves. A large part of leadership can recognize each employee’s unique role. When everyone knows that they matter, they work even harder and produce even more. Creating an inclusive culture does not happen overnight. It is something that organizations must work at day in and day out. The benefits are far-reaching and cannot be underestimated. While not every leader will ever need to consciously create this type of business culture, it is beneficial for all concerned.

The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit for doing them. Benjamin Jowett

As your organization becomes more successful and your team members become fully invested in what you are doing, the results will speak for themselves.

Incorporating Strategy in Leadership

Strategic Leadership is a powerful principle that recognizes that leaders must work not only to ensure the achievement of their personal goals but also to the success of their organizations. Every leader’s shared responsibility is to ensure that their organization is both successful in its internal affairs and politically resilient to bring about the necessary changes that are needed to enhance the overall efficiency of their policies and programs. This principle is most closely related to the famous saying, ‘To lead is to be understood.’ Although leadership may not always involve influence, it certainly includes a particular influence to achieve the organizational objectives.

What are Your Company Goals?

While there is nothing inherently wrong with strategic leadership, the term is generally used when an organization is considered to have a specific long-range vision. Sometimes, even executives within an organization do not have a clear idea of its future goals, which causes them to engage in tactical choices and actions that do not focus on the larger picture. To be effective, strategic leadership must recognize the importance of seeing beyond today’s issues and visions to create a more concrete future. This involves involving employees in decision-making processes that deal with the company’s future.

Balance is Everything

To encourage employees to achieve the vision, leaders must provide a sense of balance. They should not be too hard on themselves but instead, offer support for their actions by assigning part of their workload to employees who perform exceptionally well. A robust support system among top executives also helps because this encourages them to be even more committed in their endeavors. When you are a leader, you are responsible for your success and that of your company. As such, you must be open to learning from your employees to implement the most strategic leadership practices.

Authenticity in Leadership

Authentic leadership is a system of leadership that emphasizes building up leaders through open communication with their employees. In general, authentic leadership is highly positive individuals with honest motives who promote transparency. Authentic leadership requires that leaders make decisions from the knowledge they have, rather than the “gut feeling” or ” their opinion.”

The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?” Jeff Bezos

To be authentic, leaders need to understand why they are making a decision and how they intend to implement it. Leaders also need to have a clear vision for the future and make realistic estimates regarding timing and scope.

Explanations are Critical for Team Empowerment

A leader has to explain their decision clearly, take responsibility for it, and show how their actions will affect the organization and the results they are hoping to achieve. The “4 Pillars” of authentic leadership are vision, values, integrity, and control. A vision is communicated to the team and the members in the very best possible light; it represents the end product or results they are trying to achieve. Values and integrity are present throughout the decision-making process in several subtle forms, but they are the core elements of authentic leadership. Control is present in different styles and different degrees, but each must be understood and applied consistently. Each member of a team must understand his or her role in achieving the desired results. Many things make up an inclusive leadership style. These include values, integrity, control, and purpose. It may not seem easy to develop these elements in someone new to the profession or dealing with new challenges. However, with practice, a person can master these essential skills and use them to lead effectively. Understanding these principles is vital to get started.  Yet, daily practice is essential for continued progress.

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