Written by Maleshoane Thalabang (Senior Consultant)
The world is going through a time of intense difficulty, the air is filled with such heaviness, a lingering dark cloud that is unrelenting. Death, fear, job losses – all reek, causing a sense of apprehension that humanity has not face in a long time. Organizations needs effective leadership to provide vision, inspire and motivate team members. This will be success if leaders lead inclusively. Inclusivity is not possible without heart connection, inclusion is a verb, and it calls for action. This time calls for tangible behaviours from leaders to demonstrate, humility and inclusivity in teams. Leaders who consciously practice inclusive leadership and actively develop their capability see results from their teams.
Here are few pointers on how leaders can prioritise inclusive behaviours in the workplace during this crisis time:
1. Meetings must be conducted in a way that creates a safe space for team members to be vulnerable. Everyone in the room must be acknowledged. Before getting into the agenda, this time of crisis and difficulty must be acknowledged. Leaders can set tone by sharing their own challenges or vulnerabilities. Have check – in questions.
2. Lead with compassion. Crisis affects employees or individuals differently. Employees find themselves on different stages on dealing with crisis. Other employees might be dealing with more deep, significant challenges. As a leader be able to evaluate the structure of work and give support and listen rom the heart when dealing with an employee who is heavily burdened. Giving off a sick day, recommending EAP meetings, and facilitating the deeper connection between team members.
3. Be a builder – Share information with your employees, other employees come in 10’s or 100’s into the workplace. Be it sides regarding employment, wellness centres, support or mental health, bursaries. Any significant information you have and can share with your team, please share or encourage this act of caring and support in your team.
4. Build trust – Honour confidentiality, do what you say you will do. Be vulnerable as well as a leader and ask for help.
5. Listen to their input including work matters. Be honest if you are not the decision maker but give them an opportunity to voice out solutions that you can escalate. Time of crisis calls for collaboration in ideas and ways to navigate these trying times.
The world needs love. Love is also important in the workplace. This is all about viewing employees as human and whole people and not just cogs in the organisation. When we get to the other side of this crisis / pandemic, my hope is that more of us in the workplace or in position of leadership would have learnt to lead inclusively and with empathy, not only in crisis but also in calm.