Becoming an Intentionally Inclusive Leader

Daniela Herrera
Award Winning ED&I Professional
Automatic Summary

Intentionally Inclusive Leadership: Guide to Nurturing Diversity and Promoting Inclusion in the Workplace

Hello everyone! This blog aims at enlightening you about intentionally inclusive leadership, its importance in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Let's dive straight into it!

Understanding Intentionally Inclusive Leadership

Intentionally inclusive leadership involves consciously making the choice to challenge inequities in existing processes. This means that we need to learn how to embed equity, inclusion, and accessibility in our day-to-day work, as well as in how we do our job overall.

Being intentionally inclusive isn't easy—it's not something that happens magically, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. It's about disrupting the systems, practices, and processes that we're complacent about. Some of these practices might have worked in the past or still work for some, but once looked at under a microscope, they might not be as inclusive as they should be.

Methods to Uphold Inclusive Leadership

Here are some strategies that can be implemented right away to become more inclusive leaders:

Lead by Example and Focus on Well-being

"Taking care of ourselves" must be prioritized—it’s essential to recognize our boundaries, nurture our mental health, make time-off clear to our teams, admit mistakes, and invite feedback from our team.

Listen To Your Team’s Needs

Active listening is vital. Understand their concerns, doubts, requests, and needs without judgment. This will create a psychologically safe working space and allow them to openly share feedback.

Eliminating Biases

Inclusive leaders need to continuously identify and minimize biases. Some practices that can help include using closed captioning in all meetings, using inclusive language in all internal and external communications, adding all cultural and religious holidays to the calendar to schedule meetings accordingly.

One-On-Ones: More Accessible and Inclusive One-On-Ones

It's undeniable how crucial one-on-one meetings are in a work setup. But for inclusive leaders, the approach to these meetings should be reviewed to focus more on the team's well-being and growth instead of just work progress.

To achieve this, consider asking your team "how can I support you better?", "what's been challenging for you lately?" or "how have you been feeling about your workload?". Such open-ended questions can give you insight into the team's current status and how you can help them.

Final Thoughts

Committing to intentionality, inclusion, and equity in leadership takes time and effort, but the positive impact it can bring to your team makes it all worthwhile. The strategies discussed here can help build a more inclusive environment and nurture diversity.

We hope this blog has provided you with valuable insights into intentionally inclusive leadership. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share. We wish you success in your journey to being more inclusive!

Video Transcription

All right, we are just gonna give it a couple of more seconds so everybody can, you know, join and get coffee. So I'm just gonna give it probably 10 more seconds, maybe 15 and then we'll get started.In the meantime, if you all want to chat with me in the chat, I would love to see your comments. But, uh right, I think that we can, I think that we can go ahead and get started. Hi from Austin. Hi, I'm in New York. All right. So let's go ahead and get started. So, hi, everyone. Thank you so much for having me today and for joining me today as well. I'm Danny, my pronouns and her in English and is in Spanish and among many other things because I do a lot. But among many other things, I'm a diversity equity and inclusion consultant and I'm one of the co-founders of allies in recruiting. But as well as you can see me, I'm also a speaker, a career coach and a content creator again, among a million other things. So we actually have a lot to cover today. So please go ahead and, and get comfy. Go grab your favorite snack, your favorite drink or just, you know, sit back and relax and, and hopefully we'll get to learn, um, something new and I just got a note letting me know that the slide isn't fully visible at the moment.

So please let me know, give me a thumbs up if you can, if you can see it. Now, I really hope that. Awesome. Thank you for letting me know. All right. So the the other thing that I wanted to address today is I'll do my best to keep an eye on the chat as we go. So please leave me your comments, your questions, your your thoughts as we move forward. And then of course, I'll do my absolute best to leave at least time for one question at the very end. All right. So let's get going. So I think I'm not breaking any news here, but the last few years were, you know, a lot for, for everybody to be honest, we all went through a pandemic, a racial reckoning an economic crisis, several mass layoffs and unprecedented levels of trauma hurt and stress. And that's only from on you as a United States point of view. If you are joining us today, from anywhere else in the world, I am sure that your list is way way longer and I fully acknowledge that. So with all of this in mind, it's not surprise that leaders are overwhelmed, right? Because with everything that they had to deal on their personal and individual levels of human beings.

They also had to learn how to lead remote and hybrid teams, how to accommodate to five different generations in the workplace, how to adapt to an ever changing company culture and how to enhance and embrace diversity, equity and inclusion on their day to day. So in short, leaders and managers had to lead, I'm sorry, had to learn how to lead and how to revamp every single thing that they knew or that they thought they knew with little to no support or training, which is very unfortunate, right? But here's, here's the thing though, being a good manager between a millionaire quotes is simply not enough because let's be honest, managing is easy. There are plenty of tools, platforms and resources that help you manage processes and candor and systems and projects and meetings and progress in your team. However, leading a team of complex, diverse and ever growing humans, that is a completely different story. So the the way that I like to think about it is that good management or good managers, they're all about giving someone the tools that they need to reach a specific goal or to do something, right? Like a very specific something. But leadership though is all about motivating and supporting and empowering someone so they can contribute to the team's success, but also grow as professionals and individuals at the same time personally.

And I know that not everybody agrees with my style of leadership, but personally, I prefer leading teams in such a way that at some point they won't need me anymore, right? Because I've taught them everything that they need to know, pretty much everything that I know already.

So they can go ahead and become leaders themselves, so they can again take everything that they learned from me and from the rest of the team and build more leaders as they grow in their careers. So all of that sounds amazing. But how do we actually take our own leadership style to the next level and of leaders? So before moving forward, I do want to make a very quick note here. There's so many different leadership styles. Unfortunately, we won't have the time to cover them all today. So my idea for our presentation is after we hung up today, or if you already know what your leadership style style is, what I want you to do is reflect on everything that we are gonna learn together today and see how you can take that to the next level and become more inclusive in your own style.

So I want us to pause here for a moment because if you only learn one thing from me today, this should be it. So being an intentionally inclusive leader or being intentionally inclusive in your leadership style for your leadership practice means to purposely and consciously make the choice to challenge inequities in the processes that you already have in place, right? So it means that we need to learn how to embed equity inclusion and accessibility in our day to day. And in the way that we do our job, literally every single step of the way. And it also means that we need to learn how to make a very, very intentional effort to be aware of your own biases and the way that we embed our biases into the way that we work so we can minimize them along the way. So I'm not gonna lie, being intentionally inclusive is, is not easy. It's not something that's gonna happen by magic, right? And there's no one size fits all type of solution because at the end of the day, it is truly about disrupting some of the practices and the processes and the policies and the systems that probably worked for you in the past or probably are working for you now.

But once you look at those practices under a microscope, they're not really inclusive, right? So it is my hope that today you can learn a few strategies that you can start implementing right away right after a conversation, either on your own or with your own teams. All right.

So let's get going. So the very first thing that I would love for all of you to do is to intentionally lead by example and really focus on you, your well-being, your needs, your mental, and your physical health and I know how this sounds and I know that this can be a little bit tricky sometimes.

But let me guide you through why I'm mentioning this today, right? So remember when just a few slides ago, we were talking about how leaders are overwhelmed and how stressed they are, right? Because even more so than their own teams because they carry their own trauma, right?

Like their all very difficult situations that they're going through, but they're also carrying their teams trauma and their own situations, right? So it's like something that it's adding onto something else. And the one thing that we need to keep in mind is that we can't lead someone with intention if we don't take care of ourselves first or if we don't set the example for the rest of the team. So let me share a couple of examples for you. So you know exactly what I mean? So one of the things that I would love for you to try is and we should all be doing this already, but just in case and this is a reminder again, maybe for our audience in the United States, but take your time off and as you take your time off, make sure that you are communicating with the rest of your team that you are taking your time off, that you're adding that information onto your calendar.

Something else that you can do is as you take your mental health breaks during the day or during the period of time again, communicate that opening to your team so they know that it's ok for them to do that as well. Also, something that you can do is that met your own mistakes, allowed and open up the conversation for the rest of the team to share feedback with you and set your boundaries, your healthy boundaries and help your teams do the same. Because believe me, when your team sees that you are being intentional with your actions, they will understand that it's ok for them to do the same, they will follow your lead. So related to what we were just talking about before, the next thing that I want you to consider is to learn to actually listen to your team's needs, request, concerns and doubts without judgment. So again, we don't really have a lot of time. So I'm gonna like breeze through it, but I'm sure that you've heard about the importance of psychologically safe spaces in the work space, right? So, again, this doesn't happen magically or out of the air, right? Safe spaces are built by your leadership and how you enable the rest of your team and how you empower the rest of your team, right?

So a couple of things that I would love for you to tie is again, inviting your team to share feedback openly about your performance as a manager and as a leader and open up that conversation openly share what your drivers and what your values are. And more importantly, make sure that everybody on your team fully understand that toxic behavior is not tolerated in your team. Again, in short, safe spaces are modeled by you and your actions. So again, a few slides ago, I mentioned that one of the roles of an inclusive leader is to learn how to identify biases and minimize them as we move forward. Right. So, and again, that's one of the things that it's easier said than done. So to help you get started, I wanna share a couple of actions that you can start taking today again, literally right after this conversation. So go ahead and get your screenshots ready because again, we have very limited time to today. So we won't have the time to pause and review every single one of those tips and review why they're important and how they could help you. But again, I'm really hoping that at least getting this in front of you and, and getting the screenshot home, they can help you get inspired and tried a couple of the new uh strategies moving forward.

So one of the things that I would love for all of you to try is start using in close captioning in neutral zoo backgrounds or virtual conversation backgrounds on every single meeting that you have and do that automatically don't necessarily wait for your team to ask you like, hey, can we enable close captioning for this meeting.

This should come like second nature for you at this moment. Something else that you could try is to start using inclusive language in all of your internal and external communications. Something else very quickly is and I know that this might take a little bit of effort, but I promise that it's actually easier than it sounds, make an effort to add all of the cultural and religious holidays to your candor. So you can schedule meetings accordingly. Respecting your team's cultures, fates and needs. There are so many resources online that can help you do that automatically. So you don't have to do that manually. And then I know that of course, leaders would do have a lot of responsibilities on top of managing the work and, and being a leader. But if you can try to remain as open, as flexible, so your team can connect with you as they need to without having to wait for your next one on one. So something that I used to do was I used to schedule a daily one hour like office hours type of thing.

And then during that hour, what I would do a is I would send that invite to everybody on my team and I would just like be working on Zoom. And if my team needed to discuss something and they couldn't wait until our one on one, it was something that they, that they needed to review to do their job that day, they would just like hop in and into that office hour zoom and we would review that and then everybody would continue with their day.

So that's something that I used to do that I actually found very helpful. So, again, moving very quickly through, through all of my tips today, I, I fully fully understand that some of these steps that I share with you again, might require a little bit of effort or the way or change the way that you used to do things, right, or the way that you do things today.

And with that, we also need to be ready to open and deconstruct some of the processes that we've been following for decades without actually pausing and reviewing how inclusive or helpful they are. So, one of the things that I wanna do with all of you today is actually review, one thing that all managers and leaders do, like something that we all have in common honestly. And that's scheduling one on one meetings. And I wanna show you how you can make them more accessible, equitable and inclusive. So you can take them and use the steps with your teams. All right. So let's let's get going and again, feel free to take a screenshot of this. So again, one on one meetings are super important when you are a leader because of course, they help you understand how work is doing, how the projects are moving along. Which? Yes, of course. And it's super important. That's something that we need to do. But something else that I would love for all of you to do is reconsider how to approach these meetings, moving, move forward and start focusing on your team's well-being and growth instead. So to help you get started, here are a couple of questions I love asking my teams and these questions that the reason why I wanted to share them with you today is these questions, help me uncover some of the needs that my team might have either now or in the future, as well as some insights on the team and the company culture, how they're feeling overall.

And they actually give me some insight on a couple of things that I might not necessarily see from my place, like from my point of view because I'm not there doing like the hands on work with them. So again, these are just a couple of questions. So hopefully you've taking a screenshot. So I know that that was a lot of information. I'm not gonna lie, committing to intentionality and inclusion and equity takes a little bit of time. But I promise that as soon as you start focusing on this, you'll make such a positive impact on your teams the way that they work their growth and their skills. So as we close up our conversation today, please let me know in the chat if you found any of these strate strategies, helpful, like to try moving forward. And if you feel that this might help you build a more inclusive environment and a more inclusive team. So everyone, thank you so much for having me today as I actually go through the Q and A's and the chat over here, I had a blast. I love chatting with all of you and I know that we went very, very quickly through everything. But if you would like to remain in touch or if you would like to know more about the work that I do, my details are on the screen. I can't wait to hear from all of you.

Um And I'm just reading the comments and the direct messages that I've got, I'm really happy to hear that you found them useful and helpful. So I'm just gonna, you know, hang around for maybe another minute in case that there is another question. If not, I do hope that everybody has a great time during the rest of the conference today. I'm just going through the comments and the Q and A s. Um Well, I got a question over here and I think um we went through this very quickly but the reason why I mentioned um neutral zoom backgrounds that actually can help you minimize affinity bias, right? Because whatever you can see behind me, it's, it's giving you an idea or an impression of who I am as a person. If you block that might help you. Um again, minimize affinity bias. So thank you. Thank you for that comment and that question on the private chat. All right. So I think that we only have, um would you mind jumping back to the question slide real quick? Yes, of course. This is, this is the one make sure that you take a screenshot. And again, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly on, on linkedin or, or via email, like the details that I shared on screen as well. All right, I think that we actually have one more minute, right?

So I'm just gonna again hang, hang around and make sure that I've answered all of your questions and your comments. Awesome. Oh, right. Well, thank you again. I do hope that you are having a great time and again that you enjoyed the rest of the conference and this is me. So please feel free to reach out. Um I'm just gonna make sure that you all have the link for the next session actually or that I do. All right. So if you have any more questions, please let me know if not, I think that you can wait for the next session. All right. Thank you, Marina. Thank you, Pilar. It's, it was great seeing you all here and opening this, this conversation with all of you. All right. Well, thank you everyone. I'll see you soon. Bye.