It takes courage to advocate for a welcoming and just culture. Courageous leaders stand up to the biases within their organizations, as opposed to choosing to accept the status quo. Courage alone, however, won’t ensure leaders can make a difference. Listed below are strategies highlighted from the research of FranklinCovey that can increase your chances of building a more inclusive organization.
Model and support inclusiveness. Focus less on changing others’ behaviors and more on changing your own. “We think we see the world as it is, when in fact we see the world as we are.” Stephen R. Covey
Develop responses to counter bias. Addressing a biased comment or action can help you and the other person realize their behavior may cause unintended harm. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill
Team up and enact group strategies. Amplifying good ideas from diverse sources has the power to shift meeting culture from one where the powerful voices prevail to one where the best ideas, with proper credit given, prevail.
Talk about the importance of diversity. It all starts with talking about the issue and encouraging others to do the same. Make your good intentions clear, and team up with others to increase your success.
Be careful not to overcompensate – which can invite bias. As you begin to influence a more inclusive culture, ironically you may become more susceptible to new bias pitfalls, such as: assuming a level of familiarity that is unprofessional; giving people from underrepresented groups a pass for poor performance or behaviors; overattributing behaviors to bias.
As with all skills, identifying bias and becoming more inclusive takes ongoing exploration and intentional practice. Find the approach that works best for you and share it with others to spread your positive impact.