Leaders make the difference in how inclusive their organizational culture is by employing behaviors that foster engagement and belonging. They promote sharing of ideas – no idea is not worthy of consideration. They establish Key Performance Indicators and clear measures of success.
The first step in bringing DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) to your organization is for leadership to create an organizational culture that focuses on inclusion.
According to work by Dillon and Burke at Deloitte, there are six characteristics of leaders that create inclusive environments.
- Commitment – They treat everyone with fairness and respect by understanding the uniqueness of each person. Leadership takes actions to assure that team members are connected to other members and the organization as a whole. They treat DEI as an organizational priority and take personal responsibility for the outcome(s) of internal initiatives.
- Courage – Leaders have the courage to make change. They are not afraid to challenge the status quo and get the feedback that is needed to assess the current DEI climate. They also challenge others to recognize behaviors that impact the values of the organization.
- Cognizance of bias – They assess themselves adequately enough to determine their personal biases. From an organizational standpoint they create processes and procedures that prevent negative influences on decision-making. They employ transparent, consistent and informed decision-making processes.
- Curiosity – Leaders are life-long learners and seek perspectives from others who may have differing opinions. They are active and attentive listeners.
- Cultural intelligence – They are actively interested and are proactive in learning about others’ cultures. To do that, they seek out opportunities to learn about other cultures and diverse environments. Culturally inclusive leaders find ways to work with others from diverse backgrounds.
- Collaboration – They assemble teams of individuals with diversity in thinking. They create safe environments where team members feel comfortable speaking up even though their thinking may not be mainstream.
When leadership creates a culture of inclusion, employees feel engaged with the organization. They also come to understand that their daily actions result in diversity being appreciated and that equality among team members is a key to organizational effectiveness.
Marc L. Goldberg is a Certified Mentor at SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands. For free and confidential mentoring, contact SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands, www.capecod.score.org, email@example.com, 508-775-4884.