Jul 14, 2023 5 min read
Inclusion is a Way for Sustainable Business
An organization must have people from diverse backgrounds. Similarities and Diversity emerge from gender, age & cultural background which are obvious. But certain similarities and diversity emerge from education, caste, socio-economic status, abilities, a post held, and various other factors.
An effective organization is made up of a diverse group of people provided the diversity is promoted and well-accepted at all levels of the organization. A diverse group enables a high level of problem-solving ability, efficient work processes, innovative ideas, and of course strong business performance & competitiveness.
The first task for the organization is to hire people from diverse groups and then, promote diversity and create an environment for inclusion to be more effective & productive.
Two issues that need to be addressed to promote diversity are “biases” and “privilege”. Bias is taking a stand in favor or against a person or group of persons compared with another mostly in an unfair or negative mode. The bias can’t be avoided 100%. But as a Leader of the team, it is essential to identify the bias and diffuse them to create a cohesive team.
The second aspect is “privilege” which comes as an unearned advantage over others based on gender, caste, socioeconomic conditions, or any other factors. Privilege gives an advantage to some people to achieve their personal aspirations easily as compared to the unprivileged. The impact of privilege is worse than the bias. A leader’s task becomes more complex to identify such privileges and fix the problem to promote diversity.
Why inclusion is essential? When people work with diverse team members, they tend to improve their thinking, abilities, creativity, and performance. A diverse team can come out with smart and creative ideas or business processes which shall be beneficial for the entire organization. This is possible only when the organization has ensured an environment of “inclusion” at all levels.
Everyone in the organization must feel belongingness, their voice is heard, valued, respected, authentic self, and has equal participation in the team’s assignments. A leader must understand each team member as an “individual” and bring a sense of engagement and inclusiveness. A leader must ensure the following:
Create an environment that encourages, recognizes, and rewards individuals for their contributions and ideas by making individuals feel safe when taking interpersonal risks.
Encouraging employees to be true to themselves. They are also empowered to view mistakes as learning opportunities. In company cultures built on authenticity, employees take responsibility for their actions and don't blame others for their mistakes.
Be empathetic to understand and share the feelings of another person. Be compassionate and wholeheartedly act on that understanding and help the team members.
To ensure the above, the leader must possess and demonstrate the following qualities:
Admitting a mistake or oversight that affects the team's work. Rather than trying to cover it up, the manager could address it openly with the team, acknowledge the mistake, and work on a way forward.
Admit the areas of learning.
Demonstrate ethics and value systems in all actions.
Be always self and natural at the workplace.
I conclude by saying that effectively address “biases” and “privileges” and be “empathetic” and “compassionate” to make each member feel included and work in a safe environment. This is not only true for the inclusion of employees but also for other stakeholders, such as vendors, channel partners, business associates, suppliers, contractors, and society at large.
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