This post is about more than just inclusive leadership, it is about showing genuine commitment as well as having the skills to lead inclusively. On LinkedIn I shared that having a CEO and exec team member who "gets it" is a pre-requisite for any meaningful DEI work. In this work there are few things that feel worse than having a Senior Leader who appears to be consciously committed to diversity, equity and inclusion letting you down...
The five most common ways Senior Leaders have disappointed me are:
1) Ducking out of DEI meetings/events early once you've given an introduction (or staying but being on emails the whole time)
2) Not doing enough to recognise, reward and support colleagues working in DEI (whether full time or as part of an ERG)
3) just Asking to be 'kept in the loop' but never following up or being proactive about DEI work taking place
4) Not being able to speak candidly and openly about DEI without having a script written by someone else
5) Not walking the talk when it comes to your own recruitment practices...
So how can Senior Leaders really show up how and when it matters to play their role in DEI? This infographic contains some of my advice based on experience of working with Senior Leaders who really demonstrated their passion and dedication through their behaviours.
1) Proactively give support acknowledgement and recognition to DEI colleagues. Prioritise the wellbeing and psychological safety of DEI managers and ERG leads.
2) Make time for DEI and be fully present during meetings and events - don’t duck out early or multi-task
3) Get 360 feedback on your inclusive leadership qualities... and take the feedback on board
4) Don't just wait for updates - see it as your responsibility to stay informed and get involved in DEI work
5) Hold yourself accountable through having DEI objectives, goals and development areas
6) Connect with other leaders to talk and act on DEI work in your industry and community
7) Invest in specific coaching for DEI and go beyond just relying on free advice and mentoring
8) Ensure you are role modelling best practice equitable and inclusive hiring practices. Hold others accountable for this too!
Above all, be consistent, proactive and conscious in your approach. Even when you think you are passionate and doing enough, there is always more you should be doing!