In Signicat we are stepping up our efforts in creating a truly inclusive work environment. We are already diverse to a good extent with our 38 different nationalities and working from 15 different countries. But diversity without inclusion risks to become confusion or frustration. With our knowledge that diverse and inclusive teams make better decisions 87% of the time and have a 75% faster time to market, for us as a scale-up going through hyper growth in Europe, it's only natural that we want to ensure a truly inclusive work environment.
Disclosure; I have struggled with knowing concretely what should I do to ensure I'm inclusive. And what are the capabilities we need to develop as an organisation and a team?
Therefore, I was so pleased when we had the opportunity of having an inspirational session on How to create an inclusive work environment, with Suzan Hourieh Lindberg, CEO of The Social Few, where she was able to shed some light on this.
In her talk she shared a study called “One Question”. In short it’s about which teams deliver the best solutions. The study has been made with 13 organizations and 78 teams, always consisting of 12 people each. The teams ranged from low, mid and high in perspective density. The striking difference in results was mainly due to the factor of inclusive leadership. The teams went from 12 useful solutions to 120! And not only that, but in that group all individuals felt listened to and felt safe enough to share from their whole self.
If you are a leader like myself, it can be a little daunting in realising how much responsibility or impact you have on a group's solution quality, but Suzan calmed me when she explained that the leadership aspect is as important in self-leadership that we all have responsibility for as team members. So, what I will share with you now is as relevant for all of us.
The 6 traits that will make you an inclusive leader and team member
Moving from daunting to curious about what those aspects are that make such a big difference. These are apparently it:
- Commitment - to the team and the mission we are on
- Courage - to not be afraid of standing up for your team, taking the tough discussions
- Awareness of one's biases - if you are human, you have biases. Just being aware of which your primary biases are, is a great first step as awareness makes you more prone to take caution of them
- Curious - knowing and wanting to know more. Constant strive to understand how can I and we do even better?
- Cultural humility - staying humble on the fact that nobody is perfect (and no one's norms are the right ones) and wanting to know "what's it like to be you"?
- Collaborative - loving and wanting to collaborate with others
These are all highly trainable traits and very measurable. Measuring is always fun and useful, but I'm thinking that you don't have to wait for having a measuring tool or analytics in place to start this development of your own. Why not just use these traits as basis to ask for feedback on in your next 1-2-1 with your leader or with your peers? I'm sure we can all help give each other constructive and helpful feedback on what we can do to demonstrate even more commitment, curiosity, humility etc. At least I know I will!