How You Can Support Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Within Your Team
The key practices that I utilize to encourage and cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion in my team:
1. Servant Leadership style:
This approach is about putting my team first by asking what I can do to help them succeed. Crucial to their success is pushing team members to be their true, authentic self. Insisting that all opinions / suggestions are heard, given merit, and adopted when appropriate demonstrates that decisions are made with input and consideration from the team.
2. Actions must be backed by words:
I evaluate every promotion decision, hiring decision, and performance evaluation, keeping in mind my commitment to diversity & inclusion. I check in with myself – Am I judging an individual too harshly or someone else easier based on gender / race? Have I evaluated each candidate fairly and considered how the team would benefit from their unique background and experiences, not just hiring someone who is like me?
3. Honesty and transparency:
I owe it to my team to be honest with them. I admit my mistakes, provide details on my decision-making process, and ask them to help me improve. Honesty and transparency ensure that doubts about my motives do not harm team dynamics or lead to people feeling excluded.
4. Have the conversation:
I utilize monthly team meetings to discuss topics around diversity & inclusion, where I push for feedback. By having these open forums, team members understand that these issues matter to me.
5. Establish a culture of trust:
If your team does not trust you and feel safe being honest with you, none of the above practices will succeed. Being open to criticism is the key to leadership and critical feedback allows you to get the benefits of the diverse backgrounds and experiences of your team members.
All of these practices are done to foster a culture of fairness and understanding, and to instill in my team that we succeed because of the sum of our parts and that all members are valued, affirmed, and appreciated.