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Tips for Becoming an Inclusive Manager

A 21st Century workplace should be diverse and inclusive. An inclusive environment is one where people are valued whatever their difference. People are treated with respect and the talents and skills of all are valued.

Difference can be about background, personality, culture and work style in addition to the characteristics that are protected under discrimination legislation in terms of race, disability, gender, religion and belief, sexual orientation and age.

The role of the Inclusive Manager is to harness these differences and to create an environment where people feel valued, and where potential and talent are actively channeled to help deliver the organisational goals.

As an inclusive manager you can get the best from people. By recognising their talents, valuing their contributions and creating an enabling and empowering environment, your team will flourish and be ready to deal with any business challenges you may face.

The following tips will help to you develop yourself as an Inclusive Manager:

  • Be able to explain the importance of diversity and inclusion at work.
  • Actively communicate about the diversity agenda and how it applies to everyone.
  • Actively seek to create an environment where diversity is valued. Be the role model that helps to make it real for others.
  • Develop an understanding about how institutional discrimination can occur and how to challenge it.
  • Be clear about the sort of behavior you expect from people.
  • Lead by example, plan ways to promote diversity in the organisation.
  • Help to get it into the DNA of the organisation and ensure that issues of diversity and inclusion are considered in policy development and practice.
  • Explore your own values, attitudes, beliefs and prejudices - and their origin.
  • Be aware of your stereotypes and manage them.
  • Consider the impact of your behaviour on others, how sensitive and responsive are you to your impact on others?
  • Ensure that decision making processes are balanced and transparent.
  • Create an environment where your team can challenge you and each other to be objective and inclusive.
  • Be prepared to challenge inappropriate behaviours and comments.

When you do challenge use an assertive style of behaviour to ensure you are most effective. Challenges don't have to be heavy or argumentative. However, using humour may trivialise the issue and might give the wrong message about how you feel.

You may wish to use the following guidelines:

  • Make it clear what has been said offends you.
  • Don't hide behind statements like 'other people might find that offensive'.
  • Ask for clarification 'What did you mean?'.
  • Ask for justification 'What makes you say that?'.
  • Accept responsibility for your own actions and use 'I' statements - I feel (emotion) when you (behaviour). I would prefer that you (alternate behaviour).

Take a Stand

So, take a stand for diversity and inclusion and help shape your organisational culture.

jml Diversity inclusion Training Consultancy - February 2014


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