Yes, you CAN integrate inclusion and diversity into your team culture.

Ok, so let’s be honest. There are a lot of benefits and perks that come from being a manager in a large organization.  

But like any work environment, there are also challenges for managers in large companies that can not be discounted.

One of which is that managers in large organization tend not to have full control over the work environment policies, culture, expectations.  

And this is not because managers don’t have ideas and suggestions, but rather that larger organizations are usually the culmination of hundreds of employee and manager voices.

Despite this, you as a manager do have the ability to set expectation within your own team.  Including around inclusion and diversity.


Great Leaders Exemplify Inclusivity & Diversity

The easiest way for a great manager to set the stage for inclusion and diversity is to be a role model for their own team. 

This includes using your words and actions to create and maintain and inclusive team environment. 

It also mean articulating expectations and holding the team accountable for doing the same.

The truth is that to really be inclusive, it requires a shift in thoughts, words, and actions.  

And it must be integrated into the culture – the very way of being – of the entire group.

There are also a few proven and direct ways you as a manager can ensure your team walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to inclusion and diversity.

Below are my top 3 recommendations.


#1.Build a diverse team.  

You can do this through selection and hiring. 

And by diverse, I mean diversity of all kinds, if possible. 

Age, race, gender identity, ethnicity, socio-economic background, work experience, nationality, education, work experience, etc. (Click here for different representations

Diverse teams are known for being “smarter” since they are more likely than homogeneous teams to continuously examine facts and remain objective, which lead to better business decisions (Harvard Business Review, 2016).

Hot Tip:  One great way to be inclusive is to have your existing team members participate in the recruiting and selecting new team members.  Let’s face it, no one knows the role better than another team member who does similar work.  And their point of view in bringing on a new team member could be invaluable.  Giving them a voice in the hiring process demonstrates that their opinion is valued, makes them feel included in the final decision, and will like result in hiring the best candidate.


#2.Encourage new ideas, innovation, and veering outside the box.

Too often, when we think of diversity, the first things that come to mind are physical or identity attributes. 

Yet, one of the most powerful ways to create an inclusive team environment is to encourage and reward diversity of thought

Following the status quo can be stifling for many teams, and inhibits business growth. 

If you are looking to challenge your team with stretch goals and continuous improvement, then having innovation as one of your team values and prioritizing diverse thinking could go a long way. 

This could be as simple as having regular team brainstorming sessions to solve problems where everyone gets to contribute. 

Or having an “open door” policy to hear new ideas for processes and products.


#3.Be a vocal and visible advocate for diversity whenever possible.

Not only are you able to reinforce inclusion and diversity within your team, but you also can be a strong advocate amongst other employees, your peers and as you manage up with your boss and other leaders.

While it is true that you may not have the final decision related to company practices, protocols and policies- you can still certainly use the influence you have to encourage and support efforts out ide of your immediately control. 

This might require you to volunteer to be on new workgroups, to speak up and speak out when you see or experience behaviors not aligned with the organization’s stated values and culture


Final Thoughts.

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