Back when I introduced this newsletter last November, my commitment to you was to provide you with BOLD, actionable advice on DEI, leadership, and culture that you can use. Today, I want to bring us back to the conversation on DEI.

In my practice, I have some amazing DEI clients. They come to me for a variety of reasons, but no matter the reason or scope of work, we always end up working on leadership – inclusive leadership – in some way.

You may be reading this and thinking, why do we use terms like “inclusive leadership”. Shouldn’t all leadership be inclusive. I mean, who’s the ass that’s going to say proudly, “I’m a non-inclusive leader?” No one.

But here’s the thing, while no one is going to shout it out, so many leaders ARE non-inclusive.

You’ve seen it. It looks like this:

🤦‍♀️Almost everyone on their team and around the table at their meeting looks about the same and very similar to the leader – age, gender, race, physical ability, etc.

🤦‍♀️The people they assign to projects are always the same handful of folks.

🤦‍♀️There is no variability in how they manage the individuals on their team. For example, either no one can work from home, or we all must come into the office 1 – 2 days per week. It’s the rules.

🤦‍♀️On the conference calls they lead, the people dialing in for the meeting (or with their cameras off on the zoom) rarely get included in the conversation with those in the room or on camera.

🤦‍♀️They spend time scolding and planning to fire those who don’t learn things as fast as they’d like and they never asked what the developing team member may need. The path to meeting expectations is the same for everyone.

When it comes to your leadership – of others, projects, teams, organizations – how are you showing up?

Before you answer, let’s reflect on our definitions from last November.

Diversity = Difference. YOU are different from others around you in some way. And YOU are very similar to others in many ways.

Equity = How you make what works for one person work for the next person equally as effectively. That means YOU may have to take a different approach to get the same outcome for others because we’re not all starting from the same place.

Inclusion = You know, live, and lead like everyone counts and all perspectives matter.

Let’s check ourselves, starting with the D word – Diversity. Identify a team that you lead, work with, are a member of, or engage with regularly and answer the following questions.

  • See Diversity: Look at your team. Do you see diversity? Beyond what you see on the outside, what other differences exist? If you can’t come up with any, it’s time to schedule some 1×1’s with people to get to know them more deeply. (And if you don’t even SEE diversity, click here. We’ve got to talk!)
  •  Identify Diversity: Think about a person you know from the team that you would say is completely the opposite of you. What makes them different? What makes them valuable? What do you have in common with this person? Spend some time finding out.
  • Apply Diversity: What is a skill or talent you wished you had yourself or on the last project you worked on? Who has it on the team? How do they use it? How could you tap into that talent to accomplish great results?
  • Appreciate Diversity: Think of the people you work with every day, what unique skill do you appreciate about each of them? Let them know. Tell them how their unique skill and contribution makes a difference.
  • Advocate for Diversity: Identify one person who is different from you and develop a “follower” relationship. Get to know them and their work and become an advocate for them. (Check out chapter 8, Find Your Followers, of my book if you want to understand more about developing followers  and what it takes be make a good follower relationship work.)

You’d think a focus on diversity would come easy to all. But it doesn’t. Bias is so powerful. It’s in our human nature to prioritize and focus on that which is like us, expedient, or close by.

Small steps can make a difference. Take one of the steps above and get started on your diversity journey.

We’re moving down the path away from basic leadership into full on BADA$$.

BASIC Leaders don’t see the diversity (or the lack thereof) around them. Their leadership screams, “I’m a non-inclusive leader and I’m proud!”

BOLD Leaders see diversity (or the lack thereof) and they apply diversity for its benefits.

BADA$$ Leaders appreciate diversity, seek diversity, apply diversity for its benefits, and advocate for it.

Where is your company on the journey? Need help? Click here to schedule time to talk .