How to create a formula for owning the inclusive leadership journey

 

 

 

 

 

by Simone E. Morris

 

 

 

Many are still searching for practical solutions to excel as inclusive leaders. Approaching the solution from a formulaic perspective can be empowering. So, what exactly would a pragmatic formula for excelling in inclusive leadership include? This article will explore and provide insights into crafting a personalized formula to support growth as an inclusive leader.

What Is the Inclusive Leadership Formula?
Finding solutions to the workplace community’s ever-changing needs requires tools at our disposal to navigate and improve the workplace culture. Creating an inclusive leadership formula provides a proactive way for inclusive leaders to cultivate inclusion effectively. As such, think through the components of a repetitive formula for impactful results. Remember that this formula will ebb and flow to become more robust with additional awareness, offering a hopeful path for continuous growth. Here an example of a formula: A+T+E+C = IL (attitude + transparency + education + commitment)

Why Is Attitude Important For Inclusive Leaders?
Being open about inclusive leadership can be insightful in many ways. In other words, seek to allow space for the discovery of an ever-changing path. Openness is also an opportunity to demonstrate appreciation for ambiguity when navigating spaces where one can’t simply know all the answers about fostering inclusivity in the workplace. This writer only professes to have some of the answers regarding inclusive leadership but remains open for answers to unfold on an exploratory journey of helping oneself and others be better at inclusivity. A great place to start is by taking or revisiting the research-infused Myer’s Briggs test, which unpacks insights around preferences and more. Doing so will provide an opportunity to up the ante with insights on impactful ways to be more inclusive. For example, imagine getting data and ideas to action suspension of judgment to improve leadership capabilities when managing teams.

Why Do Inclusive Leaders Need To Embrace Transparency?
Many inclusion hiccups occur because of a need for more visibility into decision-making, psychological safety to build genuine connections and foster trust for win/win relationships, and more. Therefore, leaders who aspire to excel at inclusive leadership must explore the effectiveness of handling transparency in the workplace. Consider the many decisions around in-person or remote teaming at the height of the pandemic. These decisions had an impact on the effectiveness of inclusion. If a leader didn’t consider how decisions impacted workers at a deep level, then turbulence occurred and potentially unknowingly purported exclusion in the workplace. In my previous Forbes article, Inclusive Teams: What They Are And Why They Matter, I talked about how leaders can gain insights from active listening to foster team inclusion. Managers who listen to team member feedback will gain transparency and impactful insights to generate a roadmap for leading an inclusive team. The leader’s role in fostering transparency is crucial for creating an inclusive workplace.

Why Is Ongoing Education Critical For Inclusive Leaders?
Lifelong learning is essential to navigating and thriving in an inclusive workplace. As such, inclusive leaders who want to succeed must commit to regular awareness-building activities. For example, empathy and emotional intelligence education are good knowledge foundations to support professional growth as an inclusive leader. Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence states, “The fine art of relationships requires the ripeness of two other emotional skills, self-management and empathy.” There are many more skills to explore for skill-building as an inclusive leader. These are a few suggestions to explore.

Why Do Inclusive Leaders Need to Stay Committed To An Inclusive Workplace?
Ongoing cultural shifts and occurrences create turbulence that affects workplace goals and inclusion progress. As such, inclusive leaders must evaluate and proactively prepare commitments with supporting accountability, focusing on embedding inclusion deeply into the workplace’s fabric.

 

Source: forbes.com

Marshall Goldsmith: Powering Up Positivity

 

 

 

 

by Kelly Goldsmith and Marshall Goldsmith

 

Looking for a quick way to give your team a productivity boost? Start by eliminating negativity.

One of the greatest challenges faced by all the leaders we meet is overcommitment. Many of us feel buried with a flood of requests that never stop. We never seem to have enough time.

We are now going to give you, as a CEO, a tool to save time and simultaneously build a more positive organizational culture. This is an idea that you can share with leaders at all levels of management. Although the theory is easy to understand, as our surveys clearly show, the practice is usually far from optimal.

We have asked more than 1,000 leaders from around the world to answer this question:

What percent of all interpersonal time is spent on people talking about how smart, special or wonderful they are or listening to someone else do that, or people talking about how stupid, inept or bad someone else is or listening to someone else do that?

For some reason, we’re always surprised at the consistency of the average answer from respondents. The average score reported by participants from around the world is about 65 percent. We have never visited a country where the score was below 50 percent.

Productive Engagement

How much do we learn when we talk about how great we are or listen to others do that? Nothing.

How much do we learn when we talk about how terrible someone is or listen to others do that? Nothing.

What percent of all interpersonal communication is wasted on this unproductive communication? The answer, even if our results are vaguely representative, is way too much.

We have a very simple suggestion. Reduce this number!

Teach your leaders a basic process. Before speaking, ask yourself four questions:

• Will this comment help our company?

• Will this comment help our customers?

• Will this comment help the people that I am talking about?

• Will this comment help the people that I am talking to?

While we both have Ph.D.s, you don’t really need a Ph.D. to know what to do. If all four answers are no, don’t say it!

One of our great heroes is Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford and a Chief Executive CEO of the Year. When Alan went to Ford, he immediately embarked on building a more collaborative and positive culture. One of his great beliefs is, “Have fun—not at other people’s expense.”

A common belief is that changing a large corporate culture is an incredibly time-consuming process. Since the company was going bankrupt, Alan didn’t have an incredible amount of time.

He very quickly established a zero tolerance policy for destructive or inappropriate behavior. Part of this policy included the elimination of destructive comments.

It worked!

Model the Makeover

As a leader, start with yourself. Before speaking, ask yourself the four questions listed above. Lead by example. After starting with yourself, start carefully listening to and observing the behavior of people on your executive team. If you want your company to have a positive culture, assume that all of your employees are watching the executive team. Make sure that your team is leading by example. After that, start spreading the word, leader by leader, throughout the organization.

Peter Drucker taught us, “We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We do not spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop.”

We, with great help from Peter Drucker and Alan Mulally, have just given you a great place to get started in teaching leaders what to stop.

 

Source: Chief Executive

You’re Back from Your Leadership Development Program. Now What?

 

 

 

 

by Brenda Steinberg and Michael D. Watkins

 

After participating in a good leadership development program, you’ll no doubt feel inspired to transform yourself, your team, and your organization. That’s why companies spend more than $46 billion per year on such training. They want their employees, from high potentials to top executives, to gain energy and purpose by learning and envisioning the future with others.

However, many program participants find it challenging to sustain momentum and achieve durable post-program results. As an executive who recently graduated from one of ours told us: “I left incredibly motivated. I had a clear plan for how I needed to lead and restructure my area. Three weeks later, I was extremely frustrated. It felt like nothing had changed.”

Most often, leaders are making progress — just not at the speed they had hoped. Success requires determined effort combined with care about pacing and adjustment. Here are some practical strategies to help you navigate the crucial post-program “reentry” phase and maximize the impact of your experience.

Anticipate reactions.

When you return from your program, colleagues will be curious about it. When they ask you how it went, don’t overwhelm them with too much information or gloss over your answer. Instead, have ready a few 60-second elevator pitches – each highlighting a key takeaway, its strategic implications, why it’s important to you, and how it will shape your thinking in the future.

You will likely need different pitches for different stakeholders. For example, your pitch to your direct reports might be about what you learned about empowering the team. At the same time, the one to your boss might be targeted to executing the strategy or achieving business results.  A well-crafted reentry pitch will engage the heads and the hearts of listeners and signal potential changes.

Recognize others’ contributions.

Take the time to recognize the people who made it possible for you to attend the program. Tell reports how much you appreciate their hard work ensuring operations ran well when you were away.

Also, explore what they learned and how they developed during your absence and any impact it’s had on their future goals and aspirations. Any post-program change agenda will require the support of your team, and this is an opportunity to both create goodwill and explore how you might free up time by shifting responsibilities.

Make sure to thank your boss, peers, and others, too, emphasizing how they might benefit from your new insights and ideas. By demonstrating your gratitude and connecting your experience to group and organizational success, you reinforce your commitment to others.

Embrace the opportunity.

Leaders often worry that their newly acquired behaviors or visions will be met with skepticism and jokes about just returning from a course. “Who kidnapped the real you and substituted this alien?” is a common refrain. But don’t let this fear hold you back. You will be more disappointed in the long run if you fail to make any changes or if others fail to recognize your growth.

Remember that this is an opportunity. Acknowledge that while you are committed to continuous, long-term personal and team development, the course was indeed a catalyst for new thinking. Emphasize that you are dedicated to working with others to drive meaningful change.

Communicate your intentions.

To gain support for your change ideas, it’s essential to be candid about your intentions and the challenges you anticipate. The idea isn’t just to inform them and eliminate any preconceived notions they might have; it’s also to involve them in specific areas of transformation.

Be mindful that you have been thinking about this evolution for longer than they have, though, and allow them time to process, reflect, and adapt. Ultimately, the goal is to create a shared understanding and facilitate a smoother transition.

Pace yourself.

You may return to your professional life inspired and impatient to fix things right away. But pace and prioritization are paramount.

Of course, if the program has prompted you to realize that you have been procrastinating on a critical change and have the authority to make it, do so immediately. Be courageous, communicate clearly, and take action.

However, most changes will benefit from a more gradual approach. Introduce new ideas incrementally, respecting others’ adaptation process. Small, consistent individual and team shifts are better accepted and less disruptive. Allow time for practice and refinement to solidify changes.

Build a support network.

You’ll want a support network both inside and outside your team. Stay in touch with people you met in your development program to share advice and hold one another accountable. You might consider creating a group on platforms like WhatsApp or establishing a buddy system whereby partners check in every four to six weeks. Within your organization, identify individuals in the best position to discuss and advise on your intended changes and enlist them to provide regular feedback and help you work through challenges.

Stay the course.

The only way to achieve change is through consistent effort. Accept that your initial work is unlikely to yield immediate results, that there might be resistance and setbacks, and stay patient. Communicate often and clearly, balancing understanding with determination. Recognize that small steps add up to significant ones and stick with it. With work, your development program experience can lead to long-lasting personal, team, or organizational change.

 

Source: HBR

 

3 ways to craft a culture of collaboration in remote work models

 

 

by Heather O’Shea

 

According to Upwork, around 32.6 million Americans will work remotely in 2025, approximately 22% of the total workforce. Another study by Buffer says that a whopping 98% of people want to work remotely, at least part of the time. When you look at the numbers, it is easy to see that remote work overall—in some shape or form—is on the rise.

This trend is not just a response to recent global circumstances but also reflects the evolving nature of work itself. Advancements in technology that allow us to stay connected, plus a greater emphasis on work/life balance, have made new working models the object of our desire. There are a few workplace golden rules leaders need to remember, no matter what your work model may be.

Maintaining community in remote work models

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of leading teams in various set-ups, from single-location teams to those spread across different geographies and even fully remote teams. In reflecting on these experiences, one constant stands out: The importance of fostering a culture centered around authenticity, empathy and community.

Currently, my team is 100% remote. In this situation, people don’t necessarily get to know each other by walking around a physical location, so messaging platforms like Slack become our “break room” or “water cooler” to build and foster a sense of community. We come up with fun topics to discuss and share photos from our various locations that give everyone a view into our lives. What’s great about being based around the country is that we have such a rich diversity in how we live our lives and the events happening around us, so it’s always fascinating to participate in those discussions.

At my company, “playful” is one of our core values, and we are always coming up with ways to fulfill this value in a virtual workspace. We have a team meeting every week and often have team members give us a presentation on their lives and hobbies so we all get to know each other better and build more playfulness into our everyday interactions. Additionally, we organize birthday parties, games and celebrations regularly. As we do this, we are seeing more team members across the organization connecting more organically and even gathering in person to socialize with those who live in close proximity.

Identifying your own company values and bringing elements into your team’s workday to support those values is essential for fostering a sense of belonging and connection. Encourage open communication, celebrate achievements and prioritize team bonding activities. Whether it’s virtual coffee breaks, online gaming sessions or themed events, find creative ways to infuse fun and camaraderie into your remote work culture.

Remember, building a strong remote team is not just about the work; it’s about cultivating relationships, supporting one another and creating a shared sense of purpose. By embracing remote work and nurturing a positive team culture, you can empower your team to thrive in any environment, regardless of physical distance.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Our business is highly collaborative, and working asynchronously across time zones can be challenging without frequent communication. Consistent, transparent communication is central to remote leadership and helps set the stage for how team members should engage across projects. Since my company went to a completely remote model four years ago, our leadership team will definitely agree that it has certainly been a learning experience—and we haven’t always gotten it right. The good news is that we’ve picked up a few strategies along the way.

We are always seeking feedback on how we are communicating with employees and refining our approach. Mainly, we’re trying to be increasingly thoughtful about the forums in which we communicate. A few examples include: sharing business updates over video conference in our team meetings; taking detailed notes in every meeting so team members can reference back and stay up to speed (even if they aren’t able to attend); collecting end-of-day updates from every project owner with all of the tasks individuals are working on, and scheduling messages to send at appropriate times in order to be thoughtful of people’s working hours and time zones.

While opening communication avenues is critical in a remote work environment, being thoughtful about those avenues is also a big consideration. No one wants to spend their entire day attending meeting after meeting, so finding ways that they can get caught up on their own time can be a big help. Leadership needs to be readily accessible and available to build strong communication channels and relationships.

Building trust and accountability

Leaders have a strong role to play in any work environment, but especially in a remote one. When no one is in the office together, a high level of trust is part of everyday life. Leaders can build trust and accountability among team members by doing just that: trusting them and holding them accountable. This starts with good hires, of course, and finding people who are passionate and take pride in their work. Building a team means finding people who truly want your company to succeed, and that starts with leadership. It’s our role as leaders to invest in our employees, coach them and provide them the opportunities to learn and grow.

For example, we expect all of our team members to have full, robust lives. We hope this is even more possible now that they have more flexibility in planning their day, along with the fact that they no longer have to commute or “scan their badge” at a location simply because it’s a requirement. We have chosen to foster a collaborative community where we rely on and trust each other to produce great results and build an amazing company together. This starts with leaders showing up for their team and setting that example.

As the traditional workplace undergoes a profound transformation, embracing remote work may no longer be a choice. The good news is that, if done right, remote work models can foster productivity and efficiency while promoting inclusivity, sustainability and employee wellbeing.

 

Source:  HRExecutive

How to spot a bad leader from the beginning — and what to do next

 

 

 

By Barbara Kellerman

 

We’ve all worked for bosses who could have been better — in some cases much better — but inexplicably they remain in charge. Barbara Kellerman has been studying that phenomenon for much of her career. A Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, Kellerman has written several books on bad leadership, exploring why it matters, how it’s changed in the digital age and what we can do when we don’t trust the people in charge of our companies or communities. Her latest book, “Leadership from Bad to Worse: What Happens When Bad Festers,” is both a cautionary tale and a call to action. In the excerpt below, she details the early indicators of poor leadership — and why we are obligated to act when we see them.

—Audrey Goodson Kingo

Excerpt from, “Leadership from Bad to Worse: What Happens When Bad Festers.”

When they take power, many leaders, probably most, assure their followers that things will get better. That their lives will somehow improve. After all, that’s how leaders get to be leaders in the first place. By persuading their followers that they have some sort of secret sauce that will enable them to provide what other leaders could not or would not.

What, then, distinguishes leaders who start out bad from leaders who start out good? Questions like these are impossible to answer with precision. We are talking humans, not widgets, and humans don’t lend themselves to criteria or measurements that are exact. But in general we can say that leaders who are good, as in both ethical and effective, tend from the get-go to be more reasonable and realistic than leaders who are bad, as in unethical, ineffective, or both. Good leaders avoid the spectacularly grandiose. They avoid the implication that they and they alone can save us from ourselves. Continue reading