Inclusive Leadership – Part 3 of 4

Inclusive Teams: Make it Real or Lose Your Authenticity

You can’t change women to fit the culture,

you need to change the culture to include the women!

Forbes published an interesting article entitled: Diversity Management Is the Key to Growth: Make It Authentic. The article made some great points about the power and the  importance of diversity management that ties nicely into this Blog post series on Inclusive Leadership.

Inclusive teams (diversity management)  is the second point to considerwhen reviewing the make up of  inclusive leadership.  Teams that lead collaboratively and include everyone’s diverse points of view are high performance contributors to a company.

You can’t buy diversity! Diverse management must drive innovative perspectives and the messaging behind this strategy clearly needs a refresh.  Most organizations don’t really live it. They need to understand the critical importance of  how they treat their people authentically down to the roots of their business model.

When all the voices are heard and valued within the organization, those companies prove to have better financial performance.  High performing teams are ones that have an inclusive leader.  An effective inclusive leader must:

1)     Develop

2)    Inspire

3)    Enable

Inclusive leaders are less about themselves and more about their teams. They communicate with a synergistic message which effectively guides and leads the team in the right direction. Teams then embrace and value diverse viewpoints, thoughts and ideas which translates to innovation.  Diverse management/teams when led with inclusive behavior are authentic, respected and highly effective.  As the Forbes article describes “Diversity leadership must drive innovative perspectives.”

A truly inclusive team helps everyone be heard.  Teams face  three basic challenges to inclusion during meetings:

1)     First speaker advantage- the first speaker usually sets the tone of the meeting.

2)    The loudest voice- assertive people usually hold the floor and for longer time periods

3)    Bias to groupthink- don’t want to cause conflict, show a single point of view

As a inclusive leader, make sure you have communicated explicit meeting protocol  to eliminate exclusionary behaviors so teams feel comfortable share their views, thoughts and ideas.

Finally,  it critical for organizations to look within the teams to ensure there is enough diversity.

“We need a team that is diverse.  “A team that spans a wide range of ages, nationalities and ethnicities  because we need to tap into their talent and because ideas recognize no boundaries and neither should we.

–         Indra Nooyi, President & CEO, Pepisco