Inclusion is an important topic that has been on the minds of most leaders and organizations. One question I’ve been asked on multiple occasions is, how do I promote a culture of inclusion? This is a great question. Though there are many ways to promote it in an organization, below are a few ideas that can help.
#1 Make Purpose Your Number One
When leaders ensure the purpose of the company is clear and everyone on the team is committed to that purpose above all else, inclusion increases. With a strong organizational purpose, leaders in an organization are more likely to search for, recognize, and involve those who will help accomplish the purpose regardless of differences. Leaders and organizations should strive to make their purpose clear and ensure it is the number one driving force behind all decisions.
Leaders and organizations who focus on consistent practices and behaviors can avoid unfairness. Leaders should consistently recognize the important role each person plays and give everyone the same consistent respect and voice regardless of their race, gender, age, experience, background, title, etc.
#3 Model Inclusive Behaviors
In order to promote inclusion, leaders must act in inclusive ways. Active listening, soliciting thoughts and opinions from others, encouraging different points of views, and simply being open and available to those you lead are all behaviors that foster inclusion.
#4 Celebrate Differences
What makes a great team is a group of individuals with different skill sets, ideas, backgrounds, and viewpoints. If everyone on a team has the same thoughts or even the same strengths and weaknesses then the potential of what that team can accomplish will be greatly diminished. Leaders should celebrate differences as not only a good thing but also as a necessary thing to achieve success. Actively including team members who have different ideas and backgrounds broadens the organization’s knowledge and perspective which will help a team succeed.
Leaders and organizations who participate in exclusionary practices will hurt their culture and negatively impact their long-term performance while those who seek inclusion will improve their results.