Create an inclusive environment for better leadership
Congratulations on finding yourself in a leadership position! It's a great opportunity to discover more about yourself while perhaps helping others as well. As a leader, you want to do everything you can to be the best and most effective leader possible, and while there are many things to keep in mind, one important thing is to remember is to create an inclusive environment for the members of a group.
An inclusive environment is one in which members feel comfortable due to the respect and relationships between each other. Openness and honesty emerge, thus making for great synergy and satisfaction. Such feelings allow them to work well together toward a common goal, bringing individual gifts and experiences to the table.
In order to be an inclusive leader, one must keep five things in mind:
- Take risks - Being in a leadership role often means encountering people from different backgrounds than you, or experiencing places or situations unlike anything you've ever known. Taking on such circumstances takes courage and a willingness to make mistakes. Don't be afraid to ask questions, dig deep, and try something new. After all, they say the secret to living is to do something that scares you every day.
- Be culturally aware - This encompasses not just others, but yourself as well. Understanding your own background and cultural identity, and how these may affect your perception of the world, is the first step to analyzing and comprehending those of other members of a group.
- Actively listen - This will help you be a better leader in understanding your group members culturally and in other ways. Keep an open mind and listen without prejudice. Your members will appreciate the care you take in truly hearing what they have to say. Even try to notice gestures and other actions.
- Separate members from stereotypes - After you begin to understand your own cultural identity, you can have a clearer look at individual groups members and differentiate them rather than resorting to stereotypes to interact with them. This will lead to the respect and honesty group members need and desire.
- See cultural differences as assets - Everyone has something to offer to a group, whether you initially considerthem as positive or not. Look at individual differences as things that can enhance interactions and production as a group. For instance, leadership styles may be different and can at first cause much frustration and less progress. However, each kind of leadership style has pros as well as cons, so try to understand how to use each person's characteristics to the group's advantage!
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