Diversity is not a zero-sum game. By creating workplaces that are truly inclusive so that all people feel seen, heard and belong, we grow in profitability, revenue, and in higher rates of innovation. This means shifting from a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset suggests an us versus them mentality. This could be thinking by promoting one group could hurt another group or recruiting diverse talent somehow holds back the majority group. Based on the data to support DEI, this is flaxed thinking. Some key data points to emphasize we all grow with inclusion:
- Inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time.
- Firms with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues according to Forbes.
- Gender and racial diversity lifts profitability rates 20-36% according to McKinsey.
If you want to be a part of DEI, it starts with you. There are lots of roles allies can play for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Consider inclusive leadership as a choose your own adventure approach.
Some key roles an ally can play for DEI:
- A mentor is a future version of yourself
- A sponsor is somebody that has power influence and decisions about career advancement and succession planning
- An advocate speaks up and amplifies the voices of others
- A coach listens and provides space for self-learning and growth
- A challenger provides feedback and stretches talent equally across the dimensions of diversity
Allyship is a two-way street. You can be an ally to others different from you, and others can also be allies for you. Consider the ways you are being an ally to others and who’s being an ally to you. Inclusive leaders diversify who they spend time with because we learn more from people different than ourselves. Everyone, regardless of title or position can lead from where they’re at and model the positive change they want to see from others. That means looking long and hard in the mirror and assessing your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities, and your threats. We call this the ally SWOT analysis. Where are you showing up inclusively? Where might you challenge yourself to grow?
Allies for DEI invest time in self-assessment, exploration, and reflection.
As with anything else that is important to your career, inclusive leadership takes time and resources. As an ally, take time to invest time in yourself, assess and reflect on how you could get better understanding your unconscious biases, take the time to really observe your workplace environment for potential signs of exclusion vs. inclusion, and open your personal and professional networks to more diverse groups, stimulating new and sometimes challenging conversations.
Consider thsee self-reflection questions:
- Take an inventory of your network. Who do you spend time with personally and professionally? Who are your mentors, sponsors, advocates, coaches and challengers? How much are they like you vs. different from you?
- Complete your ally SWOT analysis. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as an inclusive leader?
- Share the benefits of DEI with people in positions of power and influence. By all focusing on DEI, we grow together.
If you liked this article, share it with a friend, check out our Diversity Pivot Podcast for entertaining stories about inclusive leadership, or schedule time with Julie if you are interested in bringing this content to your organization. We also have a brand new virtual self-paced Lead Like an Ally course to check out!