When developing an effective leadership mindset, it's important to keep in mind that there is no single blueprint for success. Every leader is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some general principles can help any leader develop a more positive and productive mindset that will help achieve the diversity and inclusivity goals necessary to move our businesses forward.
1. Identify Your Biases
We all have biases, and it's important to be aware of them to avoid letting them influence our decisions and actions. When it comes to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment, it's especially important to be aware of any biases we may have that could prevent us from seeing the value in others.
One way to become aware of your biases is to undertake the Implicit Association Test. This online tool is effective to gain greater awareness about one’s own biases, preferences and beliefs.
Additionally, it is helpful to keep a "bias journal." Each time you catch yourself making a judgement about someone, make a note of it. This will help you become more aware of when you're letting your biases influence your behaviour. This is an excellent tool to use in management training or executive coaching.
Once you've identified your biases, it's important to work on countering them. One way to do this is by seeking out experiences that challenge your assumptions about others. For example, if you have a bias against people of a certain race or ethnicity, try spending time with someone from that group and getting to know them as an individual. This can help you see that your assumptions about them were potentially misleading or inaccurate. Or you can seek to read books or watch films that have characters from different backgrounds, as this gives another lens into learning about the lived experiences of a character or about a culture that you are unfamiliar with.
2. Walk the Talk
It's not enough to just talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion. Leaders need to walk the talk by trying to create a more diverse and inclusive environment. One way to do this is by setting goals for yourself and your team. It is often seen in leadership training that speaking about idealist views is easy, however, walking the talk is challenging.
For example, you might set a goal to hire a certain number of employees from underrepresented groups within the next year. Representation is key at all levels in the organisation. Or you might set a goal to increase the number of women in leadership positions within your organisation.
It's also important to make sure that you create an environment where everyone feels welcome and respected. This means being conscious of the language you use and ensuring that your actions match your words.
As a leader, your behaviour will influence the behaviour of those around you. So, if you want to create a more diverse and inclusive environment, it's important to role model the behaviour you want to see.
3. Actively Seek Feedback from Your Team
Another important way to create a more diverse and inclusive environment is to actively seek feedback from your team. This will help you identify any areas where you need to make changes in your behaviour or the way you're running things.
It can be difficult to hear criticism, but it's important to remember that feedback is a gift. It's an opportunity to learn and grow as a leader. If you or your team struggles to receive or give feedback, consider mindset coaching to establish a clear value in seeking and giving constructive and empowering feedback.
When you're seeking feedback, make sure to create an environment where people feel safe to speak up. This means being open to hearing what they have to say, even if it's not what you want to hear. It also means that you need to be willing to make changes based on the feedback you receive.
Trying to create a more diverse and inclusive environment is not easy, but it's important work that all leaders need to do if they want to see real change in the world. By being aware of your biases, walking the talk, and actively seeking feedback from your team, you can make a difference.
In conclusion, by actively working on these three areas, any leader can help create a more diverse and inclusive environment. This, in turn, will lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. At Wellbeing Face we specialise in helping you and your team achieve your leadership potential and elevate your leadership impact.