Being an inclusive leader is one of the most effective ways to help your company succeed. When implemented consistently, inclusivity boosts employee productivity and morale. Inclusive leaders from every sector of business have proven that the approach nurtures an environment of connection, respect, and involvement. Here are five practices to use when you are working towards being a more inclusive leader.

Acknowledge Unconscious Bias

As with personal relationships, you will find that each of your employees has norms, rituals, values, and beliefs that are integrated into every facet of their work. To be an inclusive leader, take note of any biases that you have about your employees as you observe their behaviors. Challenging these thought patterns helps you get to know your employees as real people and unlocks potential for growth and overcoming challenges in your business.

Leave No Rules to Chance

You set the tone and norms for your business, and you need to make sure that your employees are on the same page. To be an inclusive leader, write down rules that reflect how you expect your employees to interact with each other and your customers. Even the most fundamental rules should be clearly written and referred to as needed. In an inclusive work environment, you will bring together people from different backgrounds and cultures that may define what is considered cultural norms outside the workplace. Thriving in an inclusive company means that everyone knows what is expected and follows through on those expectations.

Hold People Accountable

An important practice that is used by inclusive leaders is to hold all staff to the rules and norms that you outline for your business. Even the smallest misstep should be addressed quickly and appropriately. You not only clarify expectations to the individual but also let your staff know that you are willing to maintain an environment that is safe and comfortable for everyone.

Understand Diverse Perspectives

Being a more inclusive leader means that you take the time to consider everyone’s perspective. Culture, gender, race, religious beliefs, and many other socioeconomic factors influence an individual’s perception, thoughts, ideas, and comfort level. Overcome your assumptions that everyone has the same comfort level as you or other staff in any given situation.

Value Differences

Differences in ideas, approaches, beliefs, and other aspects can be the root of conflict within any business environment. Teach yourself and your employees to value differences because they help to define comprehensive strategies and solutions. Model behavior that respects and encourages differences in your company if you want to be an inclusive leader.

Originally published on Russ Ewell’s website.

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