Inclusive leadership means inviting others to participate in all levels of activities. Rather than resenting people whose opinions differ from theirs, inclusive leaders openly entertain diversity – as in the case of differing opinions.
Inclusive leaders work to make sure everyone feels welcome at work and try not to play favourites. Inclusive values extend to welcoming all people regardless of colour, orientation, age, ability, economic background, and ethnicity.
However, the goal of inclusive leadership does not end with inclusivity – nor does it limit itself to embracing diversity and pursuing a more inclusive company. Ultimately, inclusive leadership aims for embedding diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the organization and its culture.
Benefits of Committing to DEI
While we advocate for diversity in leadership, we want to be clear that diversity isn’t the same as inclusivity. You can have many minority employees in a company, for example, but do they actually feel welcome there? Are they given the same opportunities and leadership paths as their non-minority colleagues?
You want to be careful that your organization isn’t simply fulfilling quotas or trying to look good on paper with a diversity initiative when what you really need are more inclusive and equitable policies that you can measure.
It’s possible to have diversity at the very top tiers of your company or charitable group and still not practice inclusivity. Diversity issues in leadership can surface in a variety of subtle ways. Minority leaders can be marginalized from decision-making processes or given titles that don’t really carry any weight. For example they may typically be assigned to manage other minorities or special “urban” projects but are not invited to lead other more prestigious activities.
The characteristics of diversity-conscious leaders mean they recognize even their own tendencies to forget about diversity and inclusivity. They advocate for diversity and inclusivity because they know it’s better for the organization. It brings more to the table, improves employee satisfaction, and elevates the group to a deeper level of humanity and understanding of others. In research, diversity and inclusivity have been proven to be great for the bottom line.
However, a third key ingredient of DEI is equity. Having a diverse and inclusive organization does not automatically translate into it being able to provide employees equitable access to opportunities. Equity in an organization entails levelling the playing field so everyone in your company has fair access to career advancement and various other opportunities.
One of the aims of DEI is that the company has the mechanisms in place to ensure fairness and equal treatment at all levels. A framework for equitable talent selection, hiring, and workplace standards is built into the very fabric of your organization, so all employees enjoy access, opportunity, and advancement regardless of differences in their background, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic status, etc.
For your company to meet its DEI goals, you need to develop a comprehensive DEI strategic plan.
What Is a DEI Strategic Plan?
A DEI strategic plan is a set of guidelines that cover important phases and procedures in developing and sustaining an organization-wide DEI strategy. It includes core components and activities or tasks that can be modified depending on your specific setting, workplace or environment.
How Do I Write a DEI Plan?
Each phase of your DEI plan allows the business to assess where it is on its DEI journey. It will help you collaborate with internal stakeholders to build organization-focused goals and strategies, as well as publicly communicate the plan and progress throughout the organization.
Before you start planning, you'll need to ensure leadership is on board and make sure you have the resources or sponsorship needed to implement the plan. It is essential to align your DEI goals with other key business objectives in order to develop a strategy and roadmap that will lead to internal growth and not friction.
Once you’ve covered all the bases, you can begin articulating your DEI plan.
Writing about your DEI strategy might be a daunting task. However, doing it correctly can help to engage and align stakeholders around your DEI priorities, which will then lead to success. The processes involved in this phase often include:
Creating and collaborating with your DEI workgroup
Defining your DEI vision, mission and strategies
Outlining all action items
Organizing, drafting and writing your complete DEI plan
Communicating the DEI plan to all stakeholders
Knowing these steps will assist you in ensuring that your plan is effective, impactful, and comprehensive so your entire organization will be inspired to support it.
Get Help From the Experts at Tough Convos
Are you not sure where to start in developing a DEI strategy? Are certain conversations difficult to initiate? Has it been challenging to communicate the value of such a DEI plan?
Tough Convos was created to help with these challenges. We assist in helping you identify, prioritize, and focus on the areas most important to your organization with custom solutions for managers, teams and leadership.
To learn more, book a complimentary consultation and see if our Tough Convos methodology is right for your company.