Keys to Building an Organizational Culture of Inclusion: Courage
Courage: The quality of mental, moral, or spiritual strength to venture, and persevere danger, fear, and difficulty.
Based on our previous blog post that is part of my 3-part series in creating a culture of inclusion, the next step is courage. As a reminder, inclusive leadership is meant to assure your team that everyone is treated equitably and valued.
When applying the term courage to cultural inclusion in the workplace, it means one must have the mental and moral aptitude to do what is right to make everyone feel welcomed, respected and valued for who they are and the uniqueness of what they have to offer your business or organization. As an inclusive leader, you must have the courage to hold yourself accountable and hold others accountable. Within that process, you must have the courage to engage with difference, difficult conversations, and any resistance to creating an organizational culture of inclusion.
A few years ago, I had a client that was one of the largest food distributors in the Chicagoland area. The executive leadership did not want to confront an issue that was occurring between workers that were African American, Latinx, and White. The issues between these workers were negatively impacting the efficiency of operations.
I was hired to help management create a dialogue amongst their workers to help them engage in difficult conversations on topics they identified as significant. In the training, we were able to develop a better understanding of the challenges, gain knowledge for identifying who and when the conflicts arise and how others are impacted by them.
The higher-ups had the courage to hold themselves accountable, their employees accountable, and persevere through differences towards learning. This is important for working towards true inclusion.
Ultimately, inclusive leaders should be a catalyst for change by having the courage to make a change and the willingness to get through difficult decisions. As a leader, it’s important to observe how their behavior impacts others. One must act on principles even when it requires personal risk-taking. Inclusive leaders must be adept at handling criticism and open to diverse points of view. Whether you’re in a C-level position, HR, or a manager, it’s important to maintain the courage to embrace opportunity and learn from your mistakes.