Top Three Priorities of Inclusive Leaders

by Mar 6, 2023

The new modern digital world needs more inclusive leaders that care about their people and know how to support them in doing their best work.  

People stay because of good managers and people leave because of bad ones. Which one do you want to be and what makes someone a good inclusive leader?  

In our experience, they are the leaders that actually care about their people.

  • They know the names of the family members of their team. 
  • It’s important to them what each of their team member values. 
  • To build trust, they took the time to do so. 
  • Prioritizes what motivates them.
  • Sensitive to their challenges.
  • And are willing to invest their time and energy to build an awesome culture with happy people.  

But most importantly… they are professional dancers in this intricate tango of meeting organizational goals while supporting the individual growth of each team member.  


Priorities of Inclusive Leaders

This quarter is so important for you, as a leader, to show your support and full commitment to their success.

1. Reviewing goals with each team member.

This is such a perfect time to review the goals they set in the beginning of the year.  

Start by looking back at what has been accomplished in the last two quarters and what are the lessons your employee can integrate to assist in shifting their focus and priorities this quarter.  Your role is to help them realize what’s working and what’s not working.  Stay away from solving it for them.  

Some questions you might want to ask:  

  • Was there anything that worked particularly well over the past two quarters?
  • Were there any challenges?
  • How did you overcome those challenges?
  • What were you doing when you achieved your best results last quarter?
  • How did you fail this last quarter?  

One of my favorite coaching questions when coaching is always: “What failures can we celebrate?” This invites them to look at their failures as risk taking. As something that didn’t work, and now we can re-adjust and move on. If we want to be inclusive leaders and change  the inherited culture of fear and punishment- we must normalize failures and invite them!  Admitting mistakes and failures is the indication of your ability to create a psychologically safe  environment for your team. Congrats, if you did!  

Keep reading if you didn’t!

2. Feedback

It is super important to be prepared for this conversation. Make sure that  you, as a leader, are in a good mental space to give feedback. Have your facts ready.  Bring this person to mind and ask yourself the following questions:  

  • What have you seen them do really well these past two quarters?  
  • What was their contribution? Often employees fail to see how they have  individually contributed to the collective result. 
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?  
  • What impact did they have on overall team achievement?  

As an Inclusive Leader, your role is to connect the dots for your team members and  acknowledge their efforts. Good leaders have a capacity to see the bigger picture and articulate  it in terms of individual contribution to build confidence and a sense of belonging to something  larger than themselves- which is the most important element of positive psychology!  

Don’t shy away from giving them some unpleasant feedback, if necessary. As a leader you must  take time to prepare facts and not your perception of them. In our Performance Management Training we often talk about giving feedback in terms of impact:  

“Here is what happened…… Here is the impact it had on ….. team, person, project, results.  What was your experience of this situation? “  

Let them speak openly, as it will reveal the ,understanding of their actions and self-awareness  or lack thereof. This leads to the opportunity to coach them.  

3. Coaching

Third quarter is an awesome opportunity for coaching your team members before their year-end performance reviews or else you might be faced with a question of: “Why did we not have this conversation before when I still had time to improve performance? “

Good coaching skills will allow you to help your team members create self-accountability and self-responsibility, because at the end of the day these are their goals. These are their results. These are their failures. Like a good parent- let your team members develop autonomy and hold their hand if they fall down.  

Here are some good coaching questions to ask:  

  • What did you do well last quarter?  
  • When you achieved the best results, what were you doing?
  • How did that particular mistake come about?
  • How would you have handled things differently last quarter?
  • What support do you need? This is one of the most important questions you can ask to  develop responsibility for self. Tell me what support you need. If they don’t know, ask  them to think about it, as this could be a pivotal point with performance.

This one question below will pull any employee out of their victim mode and bring back responsibility for self:

“You are in charge of your career. You are in charge of your results.  How can I help you do your best work? “

Once you have explored their best work, their worst work, the impact they have, and the contribution they have made – now is the perfect time to go over their priorities for the next quarter and create a plan of action.  

Schedule weekly check-ins. Schedule team meetings to explore what’s working  and what’s not working.  

As an inclusive modern leader your main priority is to ensure that people on your team are doing well and delivering results. Make it your main priority this quarter.  

Stop doing the work- start leading others do their best work!  

Incivility, bullying, and harassment occur because the culture allows them to. Before starting inclusivity initiatives, you’ve got to stop bad behavior. Take this assessment to determine if your workplace fosters a positive culture.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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