‘Inclusion, inclusiveness, belonging, diversity, equality… it’s all so theoretical and conceptual,’ one leader complains to me. ‘How can we put it into practice? What can we do right away?’
Many people have the best of intentions. Yes, I think most people do. And then they hear or read or are told about a lot of things that are new to them and they think, ‘Yet another thing to add to my insurmountable workload…’.
The good news is: inclusive leadership is NOT another thing to add. I would rather say it is something to IN-clude 😊.
In this blog, I will give you an overview of 9 everyday inclusive practices that you can easily include in your day-to-day routine.
You will find that we can all benefit from these inclusive practices…
1. When you write emails, only send them during the usual business hours of your addressee(s).
This can be complicated if you work in different time zones. You might consider adding a message below your email signature saying something like “If you are receiving this message outside of your usual office hours, please don’t feel obliged to reply immediately”. Specify when you would like a response, and give your respondent time to look at it and get back to you.
2. When addressing people, avoid using ‘Ladies & Gentlemen‘.
When you think of a ‘lady’ or a ‘gentleman’, not everyone can identify with that stereotype. Use more neutral terms such as ‘Dear team, dear visitors, dear guests, …’.
3. When booking a meeting, be sure to send the following information in advance:
- The purpose of the meeting: brainstorming, information exchange, decision making, …
- The agenda of the meeting with the desired result
Why is this important? Some people need time to think before they can make their valuable contribution during the meeting. Some people need to know what is expected of them in order to be ready to contribute.
Remember: some people think before they speak, and others think as they speak😊.
4. Evaluate the dynamics of the meetings you facilitate:
- Who is talking?
- Who is contributing?
- How is the atmosphere?
- Is everyone listening when someone is speaking?
- Is everyone actively involved or do people check their smartphones?
Meetings can be power games, unfortunately. This is not the most productive environment… Building a meeting culture where people can speak up, where people are celebrated for who they are and what they contribute, and where people are not interrupted and are taken seriously, is a win-win for everyone.
5. You may be organising (end-of-year) gifts to thank your team for going the extra mile or your customers for their loyalty.
Think before you order: avoid alcohol for example, even if it is hidden in chocolate… There are many reasons why people don’t or can’t drink alcohol. Giving them a thank-you gift that they cannot enjoy could have the opposite effect…
6. The same applies if you are organising events for your team or clients.
Make sure you choose the drinks and food wisely. Label the food and drinks so that people can easily choose according to their dietary requirements, vegetarian, vegan, halal, peanut-free, … More and more people are getting involved and more and more caterers are offering a variety of solutions.
7. When you want to promote someone, what are the criteria you use?
What is objectively required for the role you want to promote someone to? What is the talent pool? What is the process? Have you applied the same criteria to everyone? Interesting check when you prepare the promotion package: would you give a similar package regardless of gender, age, appearance,… or any other characteristic?
8. When you create materials: presentations, icons, leaflets, website and social media content, … are you aware of the visuals you use? Very often they refer to a white man… You easily find, create or choose visuals with a tie and a suitcase for example.
9. The same goes for language:
When you choose the name of a project or a meeting room or a building, do you go for ‘man’s cave’ (yes, I’m not making this up, it was a suggested name for a project room…), ‘war room’, … or do you look for a more inclusive word?
“75% of employees believe that more diversity is needed”. (research by Quantum Workplace). To attract and retain more diversity, an inclusive workplace is needed. Creating a more inclusive workplace requires inclusive leadership… and these are 9 easy to implement examples that start to paint a picture that is more inclusive…
What is your favourite inclusive practice? What is important to you to feel included at work?
Thank you for reading to the end and I look forward to reading your reactions 🙏.
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I look forward to hearing from you soon, and please get in touch if you want to build an inclusive and sustainable culture. From now on you can book an intake meeting directly in my agenda via the button below.
Cheers to your inclusive practices, cheers to you,