In order to create an effective team, it is important to have an inclusive mindset. This means that you need to be aware of the different perspectives and backgrounds of your team members, and be open to incorporating them into the team's work. When you have an inclusive mindset, you are more likely to get the most out of your team members, and you can create a positive work environment where everyone feels valued.
What is an Inclusive Mindset?
It’s not just about who gets hired and who doesn’t. It’s about how employees are allowed to grow or not, within the organization. It’s about how people are allowed to collaborate or not, across department and function. It’s about how people are allowed to experiment or not, within their own jobs.
It’s about how people are allowed to contribute at the highest levels of their individual capacity. It’s about a mindset of constructively interrupting our autopilot thoughts about who belongs where, doing what, and how.
To see how this plays out, we can look first at the opposite.
One major way we exclude and suppress people is we inadvertently keep people functioning far below their full capacity. We do this in at least five ways:
- We don’t let outsiders in: we think people have to have the exact right combination of education and experience in order to add value to our teams.
- We see people in narrowly defined ways: by their titles and roles, without seeing their potential beyond that.
- We don’t update how we see someone as they evolve: once shy, always shy; once a poor leader, always a poor leader.
- We leave no room to explore possibilities: we’re overly controlling about what people should be allowed to do.
- We hold people to outdated standards: we’re too scared to let people try something new, in case they fail and our team looks bad.
This is a mindset of exclusion and suppression. It’s a mindset that will not result in a high performing team.
The Power of an Inclusive Mindset
Inclusive leadership helps teams break free from suppression by developing an inclusive mindset.
If we suppress by not letting outsiders in, then we unleash with inclusive hiring.
If we suppress by seeing people in narrowly defined ways, we unleash by seeing them beyond their role—as an expert with impact.
If we suppress by not updating how we see someone as they evolve, we unleash by looking for ways they’ve expanded their skills or broadened their experience.
If we suppress by leaving no room to explore possibilities, we unleash by letting people be free to explore and expand.
If we suppress by holding people to outdated standards, then we unleash by letting them be immune to the standards of the past.
High performing teams are made up of people function at their full capacity.
Functioning at full capacity matters to us as individuals because we want to be and do our best. That excites us, it fulfills us. It matters for us as leaders of teams and organizations—because we need every person at their best. That’s what makes a good team.
Do you have an inclusive mindset? Take this free leadership assessment to find out. Then join our leadership training programs today to unleash the power of your team with an inclusive mindset.