It has been a great week this week with the highlight of the week going to a webinar I attended on inclusive leadership.

The webinar was given by Dr Gillian Shapiro, a specialist in organisational development and change projects focused on inclusion and diversity.

In groups / out group

During part of the webinar, Gillian outlined how leaders unconsciously or even consciously separate us into two groups – the in groups and the out groups.

The in groups are the people who the leader shows favourability to through work assignments, language, opportunities, etc.

The out groups are well, the others.

Gillian asked us all on the webinar to write in the chat box how we feel when we are part of the in group, responses I noted were –

  • Motivated
  • Engaged
  • Positive
  • Excited
  • Untouchable
  • Driven
  • Special
  • Go above and beyond

She then asked us to do the same for the out group, responses I noted were –

  • I want to find another role
  • Unhappy
  • Demotivated
  • Disengaged
  • Insecure
  • Why bother
  • How do I become part of the in group?
  • Work to rule

The overall theme I observed was positive productive feelings if you were part of an in group and negative otherwise.

Gillian then asked us all a great question, a question that I have stolen with pride for my coaching question bank.

She asked, “What inclusive leader has had an effect on you?”

An inclusive lesson

Well, that was easy, my friend Jen always has an influence on my diverse and inclusive thinking. To me she is the champion of people and doing the right thing.

Someone I constantly question my behaviour with.

When I was promoted to take on my boss’s job, she observed that unconsciously my actions and language were showing favourability to my old team.

Why shouldn’t I?

They went to war for me, I trust them, they deliver, I depend on them, they are the dream team. Who else can do what they do?

After a lot of discussion and some practical observations, she made me realise the effect I was having on the rest of my organisation, the out group.

She explained by simply changing my behaviour, I could change the entire department to become the new dream team. She knows I love a positive spin.

It was not easy and I had to continually make a conscious effort to control my behaviour until it became a habit.

I also had the same conversation with my leadership team and ensured I constantly observed their behaviour and the behaviour of others.

Why observe the others?

Well there are always leaders in the organisation that do not have an assigned leadership role who need to understand the positive effects of their inclusive leadership behaviour.

Over the months and years of leading the department, I observed the huge positive effect the inclusive leaders had on the people in the department,

The team became the new dream team.

Wrap up

I will always value the advice my friend gave me. It made me a better leader, an inclusive leader and helped me influence the change in behaviour of other leaders in the department.

Imagine if all corporate leaders did the same?

Are you one of these and can you have an exponential effect on your team?

Your virtual coach & mentor

Categories: Leadership