This week I was privileged to attend a Leadership Masterclass on the importance of inclusivity. One of the reasons I attended was because I get frustrated trying to explain to colleagues about why inclusivity is so important. I hoped that I would gain a better way to express that. I’m not sure that I did that (as that’s rather more about me and my tendency to become, er, passionate), but I did get a lot out of it.
Dr Gillian Shapiro kicked off with a discussion on Inclusive Leadership in the Armed Forces, which I think really helped contextualise how this is an issue for the Armed Forces. Did you know some of our latest engagement surveys show that only about 1/3 of our people feel valued? For anyone that doesn’t think that’s a problem, you need to wake up. Not only is it a problem for the organisation, but it is a problem for you (yes, YOU, the military person reading this blog – civvies, you’re let off this one for now ;)) because this is about YOUR leadership.
Caroline Waters then gave a talk called Challenging Attitudes to Leadership where she addressed Trust Leadership. It was very inspiring and I’m sure I won’t do it any justice here at all. But I’m going to repeat one thing that she talked about which was 5 things that make a difference – SCARF.
S – Status. Did you know this is the most significant determinant of longevity and health? We can all make our people feel like they have status, and feel valued, merely by giving positive feedback and searching out learning and development options for our staff.
C – Certainty – Involve people, break complex issues down for them and give them control in outcomes.
A – Autonomy – I loved this point as it relates to the Karasek 1979 job-demands control model (my favourite Psychology work-based model, for all your Occ Psych fellow geeks) which found that the stress of high job demands can be offset by giving autonomy – control – in how personnel can carry them out. It can be as simple as allowing people when to set their own breaks.
R – Relatedness – It is impossible to build empathy in a competitive culture. Studies have found that organisations that build a water-cooler conversation type environment are more productive.
F – Fairness – We have to build a perception of a fair exchange.
What I love most about this model is that it is something that we can all – regardless of the level we are at – do. Even if you feel you can’t change much, you can contribute towards a more positive work environment by taking just a little of this model forward.
Finally, Mark Q McLane, Global Head of Diversity from Barclays, spoke. Now I definitely cannot précis all of the pertinent points of his talk here. But he had a wide variety of facts and figures about how inclusivity – which means making the most of and actively seeking diversity – is good for business. It amazes me that people need to be persuaded to take it seriously!
Anyone that’s been reading me for a while will recognise that my future path doesn’t (at least immediately) lead to the corporate world, but that Masterclass prompted several thoughts.
1) If I have a next employer, they have to be 100% congruent with my own thoughts and goals on inclusivity. (Which can be summed up as, hell yeah!)
2) I have to make sure that if I am employing people, I remember that I am as subject to unconscious bias as the next person. It’s not enough to think, well I’m liberal and inclusive so that’s alright. You have to continue working to ensure that your unconscious biases aren’t getting the better of you and your organisation.
3) The Barclays AFTER progamme, as mentioned by Mark McLane, might be worth a look…..