With the world changing rapidly in ways that affect how we interact with others, it is time for leadership to take a broad perspective and become more employee-inclusive. By engaging with the organisation’s employees, everyone can contribute to making key decisions and feel that they matter. Here are ways to practise inclusive leadership.
Use Plural Pronouns
A leader who frequently uses first-person pronouns to announce company news and celebrate department achievements will create distance from the listeners. Instead, everyone who played a part should be included in plural pronouns like “we” and “our” when feasible.
Instead of adopting a lofty attitude or tone of address, leaders can connect more readily to employees by using a friendly tone and adopting an informal rather than a casual approach. For example, making eye contact and using facial expressions like smiling helps put listeners at ease and show that you can relate.
Referencing occasional emotion by telling a joke or sharing a personal anecdote strengthens the connection to employees. When they see that the leader experiences emotions and events similar to theirs, they relax and let down their guard to accept the leader and the message being conveyed more openly.
Take a Team Approach
Collegial bonds can form when a leader calls on employees by name and delegates tasks that match their skills. Answering questions, accepting suggestions, and being available for consultation if needed reinforce the leader’s role as both guide and supporter. As a result, employees learn to work with the leader and actively participate in all stages of a project instead of just being a voiceless cog in the wheel.
Provide Solid Information
A leader who speaks in general terms and offers no real substance to direct initiatives or to follow through as promised will struggle to build camaraderie. Offering clear direction with reliable research and explanations or examples reassures employees that the leader knows what to do and how to do it. They will more willingly follow that type of leader than someone who is vague, disinterested, or ill-prepared.
Leadership that includes employees by interacting with them directly, inviting their questions and opinions, and providing needed resources to do their job will earn employees’ respect as well as their cooperation.