Leadership in the 21st century is seen very differently from how it was assessed in previous times. No longer is a person accepted as a good or effective leader if he or she simply commands, does not accept advice or criticism and does not aim to generate a genuine team spirit.
Effective leaders include everyone. Here are seven skills which demonstrate inclusive leadership.
1. Effective Communication
Communicate effectively and regularly to ensure understanding, clarity of roles, alignment and responsibilities. Personalise your approach for each individual team member, celebrate differences and keep an open mind while listening. Use empowering language and give constant encouragement.
2. Be Proactive
Instead of simply noticing a problem and ignoring it, address and resolve the issue as early as possible. Leaving unresolved problems simmering under the surface often leads to festering resentment among your team. Examine workflows, discuss any issues with the team member in question and resolve problems promptly.
3. Facilitate Teamwork and Collaboration
You can foster collaboration and get buy-in from every member of your team by consciously using every opportunity to engage the whole team in any discussion or project. Develop a team identity by establishing a clear vision and common goals. Encourage team members to get to know each other and focus on building rapport and trust.
4. Leverage Your Team’s Strengths
Be aware that each team member will bring their unique strengths to the table. As the leader, ensure that each team member shines in their role by assigning tasks that leverage their unique talents. Take the time to become familiar with their individual strengths, passions and skills.
5. Develop Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills
Fault-finding, favouritism and unconscious bias detract from finding fair solutions to the problem at hand. Speak to the employees concerned and make unbiased decisions that address fundamental issues.
6. Learn to Give – and Take – Constructive Feedback
Provide constructive feedback to your team on areas they can improve on. Avoid making personal and negative remarks. Focus on taking corrective measures, setting measurable goals and implementing proactive strategies. After offering constructive criticism, follow up and provide feedback to the employee regarding how they are performing.
7. Develop Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence helps you connect with employees, understand their concerns and empathise with their problems. Identifying your own biases helps you understand your own limitations and makes you a better leader. Listen actively to your team’s ideas and concerns and factor in their feedback into your decision-making.
Symmetra’s online diversity program helps you to appreciate which inclusive leadership skills you possess and which are missing or require improvement. Our suite of programs provide you with insightful tools, techniques and skills that help harness your team’s strengths.