Many leaders are part of teams that claim they maintain an inclusive culture while in reality acting in a very exclusive way. When members of these teams are asked whether they feel connected to their colleagues they often respond with “sometimes, but not always”. Without inclusiveness a team cannot reach it highest levels or produce its strongest results. That’s because when individuals don’t feel they are part of the team’s bigger mission they can’t offer their most beneficial deliverables. Without inclusiveness a team cannot reach its potential.
Inclusive teams are transparent
teams with a great deal of trust and concern for each of its members. In one organization I worked with, there was a concern that some team members carried more weight than others. Certain members were listened to while others were glossed over. This led to constant bickering and finger pointing.How can teams create an inclusive culture where each member feels that they belong and are important? How can teams move from exclusivity to inclusivity? Why is being inclusive so critical to a team’s success? Four strategies to lead an inclusive team :
1. Be Clear On The Team’s Vision and Mission
The first step in making sure all team members feel part of their team is explaining the big picture of what the team is committing to achieve. That begins with a crystal clear overview of the vision and mission
stated in terms that are understandable. How can members work towards a goal that they don’t know about or have a real working knowledge? When they are “in the know”, individuals will not only work harder but also use the greater mission to guide their decisions and output.
2. Share All Information With Everyone
There is no stronger way to create trust and inclusivity
than by making sure there is a complete dissemination of data and information. When critical material is withheld, mistakes are made and deadlines are missed. I have seen team projects go down with secrets held. To share information leaders need to: Keep all stakeholders that are involved with a project continuously updated. Pass the data along in an organized way. Be honest when data is missing or erroneous. Refrain from blaming team members when mistakes are made but learn from them.
Related: 5 New Year Actions For Leaders Everywhere
3. Invest Time In Identifying Each Member’s Gifts
To move from being an exclusive club to an inclusive team it is important to see how each member is contributing to the end result. Each member brings their own unique strengths
to a project and needs to be encouraged to use their talents. The distribution of tasks should be based on what each member can optimally bring to create the best results. Everyone counts! Inclusive teams bring out the strengths of their individual members.
4. Use A Collaborative Approach
When we lead by swapping out competition for collaboration
a deliverable will soar. A collaborative spirit screams out “we are inclusive” and team members have a strong sense of belonging. Some great ways to build a team culture of collaboration are: Listen to each team member’s ideas and suggestions. Brainstorm innovative solutions with everyone. Make sure each member is committed to the final outcome. Be appreciative of each person’s hard work-say “thank-you” often. What additional strategies have led your team to an inclusive culture?