How to Manage Inclusively 


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Our client meetings often have a common theme: how can we encourage inclusive management and leadership? The quest for changed behaviours and cultural shifts is high on the agenda for many organisations concerning DEI work.

One blog post is not a substitute for education but here are our top three things to consider if inclusive management is the goal.

1. Change expectations of leadership at all levels.

There is a false belief in many organsiations that only some people are responsible for DEI. Often, it falls upon the HR team, a DEI team or committee, a Chief Diversity officer, and their team of two or more. 

No single team or person is responsible for DEI: DEI is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation. It isn’t possible to work towards DEI without the full participation of all employees – especially the leadership team.

Leadership teams set the tone of the culture of an organisation. So when they’re not required to be inclusive, it blocks progress for DEI initiatives. How can middle managers be inclusive if their managers informally communicate that inclusivity is optional but not necessary to do their job well?

2. Build Relationships and End Transactions.

Transactional relationships do not lend themselves well to inclusion. Marginalised people do not have to display gratitude for finally receiving access to resources and opportunities they were previously excluded from. 

To lead inclusively is to recognise the humanity of your team members and employees. Anyone from individual contributors to leaders can attend DEI trainings but will they take action afterwards? There is not training that can undo the inequity experienced by marginalised colleagues without a commitment from everyone to do the work, be an active ally, and build authentic relationships.

3. Empathy Over Analysis

Managers and leaders would likely agree that different groups of people will have different experiences in the workplace – especially if they have been in the workforce since 2020.

However, simply understanding these differences intellectually isn’t enough when it comes to DEI. True empathy means being willing to feel uncomfortable, acknowledging when you’ve made mistakes, and understanding that sometimes there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

It involves letting go of the idea of being a ‘good person’ and accepting that situations are often complex. It also means recognising that good intentions might not always match the impact of our actions.

Ultimately, it’s about everyone growing together.

Fearless Futures offers a range of training programmes that build inclusive managers – arrange a call with us today.
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