Why should we as leaders create inclusion?
Inclusion is the actions that an individual is met by every day at their work place – behaviors, treatment, group norms, leadership, and structures.
A high level of inclusion is important for you to feel well at your work place, which in turn is a prerequisite for being able to do your job well, but also for an organization to get all potential (business value) out of their coworkers’ many variations (diversity).
The leadership has very high impact on how a team feel and perform.
In our webinar with Lotta Peterson (in Swedish), Lotta talked about different keys for how a leader can act to create real inclusion.
“Theory not turned into practice is inefficient – and even if we many times theoretically and logically understand ‘why we should’ and ‘the advantages by doing’, the ability to act is overall rather low. And I am sure that is where we need to practice – on the concrete action! Simple tools and techniques that can be used immediately.” says Lotta Peterson.
E.g. ‘You want your manager to like you’ says Lotta. The foundation in the leader/coworker relationship is a type of dependency – where the consequence of if my manager for instance does not like me is guaranteed to be felt since we all ‘leak what we think’, and if there is one thing that our senses react on, it is when someone is not honest – you cannot really put your finger on it – but the whole body can feel it and knows. Then insecurity is created, and you will easily become defensive for the simple reason that your manager does not succeed in making you feel safe. Your day is affected enormously by how the relation works. That is why it is extra important that the manager take their time – and that the manager in turn gets time and space – to get to know the people to be lead. The foundation is to create a relationship where one feels ‘we wish each other well’. To be liked for who you are and for what you do is very important to feel included.
How you as a leader can create real inclusion
If you ask coworkers what they want most from their manager, they often say: to get praised and be seen often, or put in another way ‘I want more feedback’. To perform good management can be boiled down to three human needs, and these points can be used between coworkers as well as by managers:
1. See me
See and acknowledge the people in your team. Look at the person who talks (don’t look at the phone or computer), and give attention to everyone in the team.
2. Hear me
Listen to the person who talks, for real. Ask open questions, let the person get time to talk and to speak up.
3. Acknowledge me
Praise and acknowledge the behavior from your staff that you want to see more of. Confirm the things they tell you, acknowledge what you see and hear. Praise the things that they do well, and that you want them to continue doing.
A magical key to inclusion
When I listened to Lotta’s webinar about real inclusion, I picked up a key that is the basis to really create an inclusive environment: show yourself vulnerable.
To show yourself vulnerable, as a leader or as a team member, creates magic. It shows that no one is perfect, it shows that it is okay to make mistakes sometimes, and to be and behave differently.
If you as a leader talk openly about your flaws and mistakes, the individuals in your team will do the same, and this creates a high psychological safety in your team – a magical key to work with inclusion for real.