Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Inclusive Leadership

This article has some decent tips, but they're missing the most important part.

Share your power.

Inclusive leadership means actually including people. So first, take stock of your group: Do you have a mix of genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, ages, abilities, and so on? If not, consider why not and what you can do to fix that. Consider advertising your job openings in areas frequented by different kinds of people than you currently have -- ethnic grocery stores, the VA office, food pantries, a physiotherapy office, your local QUILTBAG club, refugee services, the community college, etc.

Next, check the power distribution. Look at the people in charge of subgroups or projects. Are they all similar, or are they different? They should be as diverse as possible. If they aren't, the next time there's an opening, give it to someone new and different. You should then get fresh ideas and perspectives.

However, be aware that disadvantaged people may not have much experience being in charge of things. Ask what they need to accomplish the assignment. Make sure they have someone to ask for advice if they get stuck. Offer opportunities for people to learn new skills.

What are your people good at? Everyone has their own strengths and interests. Learn what those are. Ask people about their specialties and assign projects accordingly. However, be aware that some people get tired of doing certain things. So try to duplicate representation. If you have multiple women, for instance, you don't always have to put the same one on a project that concerns women. You can switch off without having to hand the project to men, who probably do not want to order a new tampon dispenser for the bathroom. Try to give responsibilities to people who are both equipped for and interested in handling them.

On a smaller scale, make sure people are comfortable. Does your breakroom have reading material from all of the cultures in your group, or at least a rotating subset? Has it got spices, beverages, utensils, etc. for everyone's culture? If there's music, does it span a variety of genres? Have you got art from different backgrounds? These don't just make everyone feel at home, they give people new and interesting experiences to share and discuss. Shopping with diverse suppliers may help.

Are the toilets sufficient to everyone's needs? (Toilets around the world are very diverse.) If you have Muslim employees, you need a Wudumate or handheld showerhead preferably, or at bare minimum a pitcher and basin. If you have people with disabilities, you may not know exactly what they need and the law sure as hell doesn't. Ask in private if there are unmet needs so you can meet them.

Which holidays do people get off? Ideally, everyone should get the same number of holiday slots to be distributed as they please, and in a mixed group they won't all be fighting over the same days. Christians work Chanukkah, Jews work Christmas, everybody wins.
Tags: community, ethnic studies, gender studies, how to, networking, spirituality
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