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6 Recommendations To Maintain Optimism For Inclusive Leadership

With scrutiny on the power dynamics attributed to midterm election results, continuous hate crimes, and the tumultuous changes at Twitter, how do inclusive leaders continue the inclusion fight and remain optimistic for improvement? Admittedly, this inclusive leadership journey is not easy, but efforts to create more connection and belonging at large need prioritization. So let's look at the current challenges and solutions inclusive leaders can leverage.

The Current Landscape

Inclusive leaders today have a lot to contend with to survive the struggle of fostering belonging for everyone. Let's look at some examples that feed into the challenge:

  1. Supreme Court examinations and provocative rulings over diversity-related topics (i.e., gender equality, racial diversity, marriage equality) that challenge diverse perspectives are on the upswing. The impacts of Roe vs. Wade are still widely felt. The current focus is on what affirmative action ruling will mean for employers.

  2. Persistent hate crimes have spiked in marginalized communities because of differences. Gun violence continues to surge again against these communities.

  3. There is political turbulence with incidents of voter suppression to eliminate change and also a focus on candidates who foster exclusion. The lingering ramifications of the handling of the January 6th insurrection, the fight to hold Donald Trump accountable, plus the threat of his return to office in 2024 is case enough for sleepless nights.

  4. We are operating from a cultural awareness deficit because of the complexities and learning curve attributed to diversity, equity, and inclusion needs. Expectations need to be checked around inclusive leadership if inadequate training occurs.

  5. Freedom of speech through social media platforms like Twitter has come under scrutiny with the recent change in ownership. Elon Musk's actions toward the employee base and decision to reinstate known leaders who are not fans of inclusive leadership have many of us worried about long-term effects.

All these challenges can debilitate the savviest of inclusive leaders. However, all hands are needed to fight for inclusion despite hate crimes, law changes, and persons in denial of the need for change.

6 Recommendations To Maintain Optimism For Inclusive Leadership

Despite the challenges mentioned earlier, inclusive leaders are vital to progress on the inclusion journey.

  1. Become knowledgeable about the political landscape. Learn about candidates. Get involved and encourage your employees to do the same. Revisit financial investments. Know whether support undermines current diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

  2. Amplify learning opportunities. There are critical skills that inclusive leaders need to master. Organizations must allocate concentrated effort and resources to train leaders to be consistently inclusive. Provide recognition and rewards to continue the journey. Also, lean into expert practitioners focused on fighting for more inclusion.

  3. Support organizations that are working on solutions to combat hate crimes. The Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Coalition, Stop AAPI Hate, and National Association of Colored People are amongst examples of organizations to investigate and support in these times.

  4. Resurrect listening sessions that may be defunct. It is beneficial to stay connected to employees to navigate the turbulent inclusion journey that may be external to the workplace but maintain a significant impact on employees.

  5. Have conversations on current events and ask employees about desired support. Support can include trauma support, active listening from leadership, and financial support to employee-chosen organizations.

  6. Review diversity statements and other marketing materials for an update on inclusion efforts and positioning.

This article was originally published in Forbes.



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