What is an inclusionist?
My summer holiday project is revising my Beat Gender Bias book draft, ready for publication in the early part of 2020. I’m looking forward to making the book as helpful as possible – which means it makes it easier to beat bias and to be an inclusionist.
But what the heck is an ‘inclusionist,’ you may ask? Well, it’s a term I created and I’m on a quest to make it a bigger thing.
An inclusionist is:
- convinced that a more inclusive world is a better world for everyone
- creative, experimenting with better ways to get there sooner
- courageous enough to step up to lead the conversation and the action
Inclusionists are passionate advocates for diversity and recognise that we’re making great progress. They know, however, that it takes a lot more than simply getting the diversity in the room. It’s inclusive leadership that makes it work. And that’s hard work.
Inclusionists are rolling up their sleeves and getting on with it. They believe not just that change is necessary, it is possible. And not just that change is possible, but that we can make it faster.
If this is you, and you want to be a bigger part of a better world, please join me in my quest. Together we will increase our influence with the support of a committed community of inclusionists.
Let’s be better together!
How can you be an inclusionist?
Is it easy to be an inclusionist? In the abstract, yes. But in everyday leadership, it’s harder.
Everyone in your team is different. You get that. People have different backgrounds, dreams, and skills.
Take this example:
Joe got a new leadership gig. It’s a great step up for him. He has 3 leaders of teams reporting to him. He sees himself as an inclusionist.
One Team Leader is set to go on parental leave. One is capable & ambitious & ready for the next step. One is male. He wants to support everyone’s ambitions & respect their capability. And succeed.
But like everyone, he has too many deadlines, not enough time. How can Joe do and be his best?
To be an inclusionist, he should:
- Speak to a clear narrative about inclusion and why it matters
- Challenge his team leaders – this is the situation, this is what I want for you, how do we make it work? (that’s called delegation)
- Given a parental leave absence, make it clear that while some will get a development opportunity, it’s temporary (like so many things!)
- Focus on a growth mindset: what do we learn from this?
- Keep in touch with absent talent. It’s easier & more valuable than you think!
- Not penalise people who take brief time-outs from work – instead be curious about what new skills they bring back.
If you were Joe, what would you do?
How will you work on beating bias in 2020?