Executive Communication: Three Ways to Be an Inclusionist Leader
By Simma Lieberman
Simma is one of my friends from the National Speakers Association and one of Alan Weiss’s Hall of Fame mentees and consultants. Simma is known as the Inclusionist and she creates inclusive organizations where employees love to do their best work and customers love to do business.
Take it away Simma…
“I’m often asked the following question by executives, who understand that inclusionist leadership is more than just diversity training. “What can I do to be a more inclusive leader, so I can leverage the diversity of skills, and talents of my employees?”
I provide them with ten key behaviors of outstanding inclusionist leaders. Here are three of them
1- Inclusionist leaders get to know employees every day. They don’t wait for a crisis, to ask employees their names, how they are, or for ideas to improve the organization.
If there is a crisis, they’ll get the cooperation and support they need from their diverse workforce. It’s not rocket science, and doesn’t take approval from the Board of Directors, to understand the role that CEOs, Presidents, Executive Directors, and anyone else in leadership play. to help employees feel important, welcome and part of a workplace community.
I was recently speaking in Washington DC during the earthquake. People were scared. Some of them had been through 9/11, and didn’t know what all the shaking was. I saw people in leadership, calmly lead their employees out of the building, comfort them, and make sure that people were able to get home.
2- Inclusionist leaders are not afraid to learn from hourly employees. They are too secure to feel threatened by other smart peopleâ¨, no matter where they are in the org. chart.
That means inclusionist leaders don’t dumb down, or condescend. They raise people to higher levels. They focus on building employee’s strengths as opposed to constantly pointing out weaknesses.
One of my clients asked me to coach one of his managers, who constantly yelled at her employees, belittled them, and criticized them in front of other people. Productivity was suffering, and people were leaving.
Unfortunately, this woman was beyond coaching. Antonia was so sure that she was right. She that she needed to “set her employees straight,” and that they were all trying to “take advantage of the system.” She didn’t think their quitting was a problem, since “there were others out there waiting to take their jobs.”
My client had no choice but to let her go, so that her employees could flourish under a new manager, who had a history of developing employees and listening to new ideas.
3- Inclusionist leaders take responsibility for educating people whose negative/positive behaviors impact the organization.
They educate vendors, contractors, security, etc. about company culture, and inclusionist behavior.
The San Francisco Jewish Museum, is known for it’s culture of valuing diversity, and inclusion.
A security guard at the SF Jewish Museum, told two women attending a special Gertrude Stein exhibit, that they couldn’t hold hands in the museum. When the Executive Director was informed of the situation, she apologized to the woman, relieved the security guard of his position, and took full responsibility. The security company were contractors, and not employees of the museum, but the Executive Director didn’t make excuses. They declared the following Sunday “Hand Holding Day” to coincide with the previously scheduled event “LGBT Family Morning of Gertrude Stein,” an event celebrating the life of the famous lesbian artist and LGBT families.
Anyone who does not share those values, will not be in any official capacity at the museum.
People who represent your organization must model inclusive behavior even if they’re not employees.”
If you want to know the other key seven behaviors that will make you stand out as an inclusionist leader; email Simma@SimmaLieberman.com or call 510-527-0700
Alan Weiss and I are hold The Odd Couple Marketing & Strategy Seminar for speakers, consultants, and coaches. Simma Lieberman is a graduate and will be there for the Victory Lap! It is June 1-3, 2012 and early sign up by September 30.