When you imagine your dream job, does it also include a dream leader and team? If yes, what would that look like for you? Are you able to communicate what kind of leadership and mentorship you want to excel in your dream job? Let’s dig a bit deeper; do our Team Leads, Managers, Vice Presidents, and Directors make sure to practice and create the ideal safe place for their teams?Niki Allen focused on and discussed today’s reality: Inclusive Leadership. We can all see companies’ rapid dependence on diverse, multidisciplinary teams that combine women and men’s collective capabilities, people of different cultural backgrounds, and ensuring a combination of younger and older workers.
Shifting to Inclusive Leadership.
However, merely throwing a mix of people together in one team does not guarantee high performance; it will require inclusive leadership. Leadership that assures that all team members feel and are treated equally, respectfully, and valued. Making sure to maintain a strong sense that your team members feel like they belong, remain confident, and are continually inspired to try new things.
Leadership, whether supportive or dictatorial, has existed since humans first began to interact. Our Mentor Niki Allen defines inclusive leadership as the following: “intentional creation of an environment and a psychologically safe environment. Do you know when you have a high performing team? When they show up to every single meeting and look forward to connecting with you and each other.” Everything you do has to be driven with intent and done intentionally. This incentive will be the driving force for you to achieve an inclusive team dynamic.
So what happens when you level up in your career and now step into a management role. Typically we train regarding performance management, manage projects, and legal responsibilities, virtually all things administrative. However, building an inclusive environment is not something discussed or even taught to new emerging leaders. Throughout the discussion with Niki, she highlighted the importance of distinguishing between performative actions regarding inclusivity and diversity. And how the execution will always fall to the Leadership Team in any organization to cultivate a holistic work and team environment.
This discussion was full of rich ideas, vulnerability, and lots of creativity from all our mentors within Locelle. Our team here at Locelle is truly humbled that we have become a safe sanctuary for our Mentors to connect through authentic conversations. Here are a few examples of some questions our mentors wanted some more insight on during the session:
Performative To Action.
- It’s easy for teams to work together when things go well. How can team members feel valued and included when their part of the project doesn’t go well?
- Managers often don’t know how to connect with their people anyway, never mind if they’re worried about inclusion. Do you have any words of wisdom: coaching managers?
- My question is about selecting and building teams – recognizing and evaluating the “softer or non-traditional skills” team members bring to the team to increase performance. Can I get your thoughts on this, Niki?
- One area that I have worked on quite a bit with my senior leadership team is conflict–how conflict is a necessary aspect of work and what good conflict looks like (similar to changing perspectives on the importance of failure). Niki, is this an area you have worked on with your team as well? Any tips/comments on this?
“Creating inclusivity is letting go of assumptions and getting into the habit of constantly reflecting and questioning your leadership style. You have to build muscles through reps, especially if this is not a natural part of your DNA.” We were able to go into depth and tackle each question collectively. Changing the status quo is a challenge, but it is achievable, especially when you find your safe space to decompress and connect with powerful, talented women within tech looking to create meaningful changes.