The 5 Best Practices of Inclusive Leadership for a Positive Culture
Updated: Feb 8
By: Katherin Nukk-Freeman
As the President/Co-Founder of SHIFT HR Compliance Training, I conduct webinars about once a month on different compliance, HR, and diversity & inclusion topics.
Inclusive Leadership is a recent, popular topic due to how important it is in creating a positive culture. Inclusive climates and leadership lead to increased job performance, satisfaction, intentions to stay, and employee creativity, as well as employee willingness to help and mentor each other. Teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to report that they are high performing, 20% more likely to say they make high-quality decisions, and 29% more likely to report behaving collaboratively. In short, when employees feel they belong, they can work to their full potential and be their authentic selves.
My recommendations for best practices that inclusive leaders need to keep in mind every single day to maintain a positive culture among their team are:
1. Create a culture of open communication and collaboration
It’s important to listen and consider others’ ideas with an open mind. Foster a culture of teamwork to encourage team members to utilize their unique strengths and bring out the best in others. A culture of communication will empower employees to speak up and advocate for respect and inclusion.
2. Build personal connections
Leaders should try to interact regularly with individual employees to show that they care personally and professionally. Employees will feel valued and engaged with the company when they know their leaders care about them as individuals. This is as easy as building rapport and asking about employees’ lives outside of work (family, interests) on a regular basis.
3. Lead with humility, but be courageous
Successful leaders must be able to accept that they can be wrong and that they have flaws and blind spots. Just because you are a leader in your organization does not mean you will always have the right solution. Be open to discussion and feedback. At the same time, leaders must be creative and forward-thinking to propel the organization in the right direction and be an agent for positive change.
4. Keep the big picture in mind, but don’t overlook the “small stuff”
Identifying and rewarding innovation and initiative and providing the opportunity for all individuals to advance their careers is an important leadership quality. However, it is just as important to call out rude or dismissive behavior when you see it. Be sure to set a positive example by suggesting alternative ways to communicate and regularly express gratitude.
5. Believe that people are created equal, even if not the same
Each person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, age, background, etc. leads to different levels of access and privilege. Leaders should commit to boosting their cultural competency and talk about differences in a respectful, professional manner. Actively seeking new perspectives and ideas will encourage employees to be authentic, resulting in increased morale and productivity.
Inclusive leaders set a positive example for inclusive employees. Creating an environment of inclusivity will lead to a better working culture overall as well as a greater sense of belonging for more employees. Not only that, but 67% of job seekers say a diverse and inclusive workforce is of personal importance when considering job offers.
Employ these five best practices to ensure you are creating an inclusive culture and your employees feel a sense of belonging.
To learn more about our upcoming webinars and other free resources, please visit getSHIFTHR.com/resources.
Katherin is the Co-Founder and President of SHIFT HR Compliance Training and a passionate advocate for building better workplaces. As a dynamic employment law advisor, training instructor and industry thought leader, Katherin is a highly sought-after speaker and considered the industry leader on the subject of addressing “Unconscious Bias” in the workplace. Since October 2018, Katherin has also served on the Board of Directors for ConnectOne Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: CNOB).
As a practicing employment law attorney for the past twenty-four years, Katherin has grown her highly successful Employment Law firm, Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C., by focusing her practice on working with clients to proactively address and effectively manage workplace issues including harassment and discrimination complaints and unconscious bias awareness.
In 2014, leveraging her years of experience as a trusted advisor to corporate leaders and organizations, Katherin co-founded SHIFT to provide innovative, engaging and impactful online training services for businesses of all sizes from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Katherin strives to create more inclusive cultures through high quality training that helps employees be more mindful of their actions and decisions in their workplaces.
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