Monday 28th June 2021
To say a lot has changed over the past year and a half would be an understatement. Our workspaces, our home lives and the way we interact with others have all gone through massive transformation.
Like many things, the way in which we lead our teams has also revolutionised, and empathic, inclusive leadership has played a crucial part in developing healthy work (and personal) environments and patterns that can not only withstand huge practical and emotional challenges, but also support and nurture teams and individuals to thrive and succeed to the best of their ability.
There is enough data out there now to show without doubt that diverse and inclusive work environments are not only morally and ethically just, but also strategically beneficial to the bottom line, and the importance of creating an environment where every individual feels comfortable to be themselves and feel accepted for their individuality is well understood. The pandemic has only highlighted just how vital it is to have a strong, flexible, adaptive workforce where mental health is prioritised and individual environments and boundaries are respected and supported.
Leading with inclusivity and empathy really is a powerful tool in helping drive innovation and belonging within an organisation, but how do we actually put this into practice? It starts with self. Modelling inclusivity can come in many forms, whether it’s showing that we are visibly identifying ways to create safe spaces where diverse experiences and perspectives are welcomed, being aware of our own behaviour and how it may be hindering or helping a diverse and inclusive atmosphere, identifying areas where changes need to be made and taking meaningful action to modify this, or simply listening to others’ experiences without judgement, so every individual feels they are heard.
We often are very keen to create change, but we can hinder our own progress by making presumptions and not spending enough time listening to what people’s actual lived experiences are. Without listening and taking time to understand the key issues, we cannot expect to have a realistic perspective. Once areas of necessary change have been identified it is important to ask what would really improve things for the individuals affected, and what realistically and practically can we do to support every individual to feel included and valued within the group?
When individuals feel valued for their unique contribution, and are supported in playing to their strengths and passions, everyone benefits. Developing skills and techniques to lead with inclusivity benefits the whole organisation, creates a positive work culture and encourages people to want to stay with your organisation for the long haul, as well as driving innovation.
Greenacre Consult runs adaptive leadership development programmes for senior level professionals within the housing industry, focusing on key issues and challenges the sector and wider business environment are current navigating, and focuses on a strengths-based, collaborative approach. The programmes include one-to one coaching, mentors, with masterclasses and workshops led by specialist industry leaders and innovators from inside and out of sector.
Leading with Inclusivity is July’s leadership theme, and there will be videos and topics of discussion around the theme published across social media throughout the month.