Everyone eventually becomes a leader in some aspect. We are in a world filled with other people and your opportunity to lead can come in a moments notice. Eventually along your leadership journey you’ll start to hear about something called inclusion. When I first started in my leadership journey, I figured inclusion just meant treating people fairly. I was very wrong; it’s an important part of it yes, but there is so much more to it than that. Inclusion has much more depth & importance than I realized. As you grow in your leadership roles, this will become more and more apparent to you. The difference that diversity brings to the table is extremely significant. People who think the same can make huge impacts, but will hit some brutal walls if no on the team can think differently.
Think of it like this. What large country comes to mind when you think about innovation? There are a lot countries that are very innovative, but I think most of us would agree America is a stand out. Now what large country do you think of as having a diverse population? Diversity drives growth, innovation, & acceptance. Inclusion doesn’t just speak to treating people fairly, It speaks to speaks to actively seeking others that our different from you out.
It’s important to have diversity on your teams & it’s important, even off the job to seek different people out. It will challenge you to think differently & help you grow as a person as well. When dealing with others on a one on one basis, it’s always good to seek to understand & work hard to ensure inclusion takes place. It’s important to know though, when you have those who follow your lead, when you’re thinking about inclusion you can’t think about it from just the perspective of one person trying to understand another. You have to help all parties understand one another. It’s not inclusion, if you’re not including everyone’s differences. Sometimes this can require mediation, but the outcomes are more than worth the work you’ll put into it.
How to drive Inclusion
A few way's to drive inclusion is to actively engage people you wouldn't normally have contact with. This can be done by volunteering, joining activities like a church function or joining a running group or even just being friendly to those while your out. Be conscious of your surroundings to see when someone may need an outreach or is being treated differently. Becoming to hyper focus on the task at hand can make us miss the big picture.
Mentor & Mentee
Becoming a mentor & mentee takes some energy, but can lead to explosive growth and Wisdom. Learning from other's and engaging other's experience is the best short cut to having to make your own mistakes. You can mentor & mentee many different ways. This can be as simple as reading someone's books or blogs. There's also the traditional method of asking someone to mentor you or finding someone that needs a little time and energy invested into them so that they can blossom
Commit your resources
Investing in becoming more inclusive pay's the dividends of being a more dynamic communicator and engaging to a broader audience, which helps open doors in the future. Where your treasure go's, so goes your heart. We don't just throw or money away, there's always an expectation that we or someone else is going to get something out of it. Investing in books, e-courses, etc will drive you to take the task more seriously and thus help drive your learning.
Inclusion not only helps us as individuals, but help our communities grow, become more innovative, and adaptable. This helps us solve problems and reach new heights. If you haven't given much thought to inclusion I hope you consider some of the ways you can become more inclusive now & why it's so important.
If your interested in learning more about inclusion below are a few books that you can read through.