10 June

The Seven Habits of Highly Inclusive Managers

The First-Time Manager: DEI

Adapted from The First-Time Manager: DEI by Alida Miranda-Wolff.

As much as a manager’s responsibilities are interconnected, they can also come into conflict with one another. Attempting to balance these responsibilities is a daily practice, one that is especially hard when you have limited time and resources. Luckily, there are seven behaviors that help bridge the gap between these responsibilities and render them more compatible.

1. Model Growth-Oriented Behaviors

Your employees look to you as their model for how to behave and succeed. To drive results while still nurturing a culture of feedback and collaboration, you must demonstrate your own growth-oriented and balanced behaviors on your team. As much as “show, don’t tell” is a cliché, it’s important to remember that how you show up determines how your employees will too. If you want your employees to work together as a team, you have to show them what that looks like by modeling it yourself.

2. Hold Yourself and Others Accountable

To hold others accountable, start by pinpointing how they respond to expectations. Do they meet expectations they set for themselves, or ones set by others? Part of your role as a manager is to identify, without judgment, what your employees’ responses to expectations are and tailor accountability structures accordingly. Importantly, do not ask your employees to be accountable to you if you are not accountable to them. Mutuality is key.

The First-Time Manger: DEI

3. Share Information and Create Clarity

The more a worker moves up in an organization, the more access to information they have. Managers often underestimate the sizable difference between how much more they know about their organizations than their employees do. As a manager, take time to understand what your employees do and do not know about how the team works, the business operates, and the industry is evolving and changing over time.

Every employee you manage should know how the organization makes money, how much the company needs to make, and how their role is related to both. If you don’t have these answers, get them, and find a way to lay them out in easy-to-understand terms that any new or tenured employee could digest. Don’t take for granted they know this information by default.

4. Proactively Engage in Hard Conversations

Good leaders have an open-door policy, but great leaders walk the halls. This is especially true of hard conversations. My general guideline is that, as much as possible, be the one to initiate the conversation rather than the last to be brought into it. This is especially important when it comes to conflict, grief, or distress. 

5. Lead Group Dynamics

Leading group dynamics requires a certain amount of communal decision-making and accommodation. Don’t just write a guide to accessible meetings without first talking to your employees about how they define accessibility, what tools they use that most benefit them, what tools the team currently uses that don’t provide value, and what their expectations are of their own participation in the meetings. You guide the team; you don’t control it. You are here to make their collective functioning smoother and more streamlined, not to run a mini fiefdom with you in the noble person’s seat.

6. Offer Employees Care

To offer care is to help people meet their needs. This makes care context dependent. If you manage a team of nurses, the way you offer them care will be different from how they offer their patients care. A nurse reporting to you doesn’t need you to take their temperature or check their oxygen level, but they may need you to rework the staffing schedule after they’ve worked two back-to-back shifts.

7. Advance Equity and Belonging

Equity in management involves ensuring the same baseline resources are equally accessible to all and that each individual can take advantage of those resources. Equity is how we take a group of diverse people and make them feel included, appreciated, and like they belong. When individuals experience belonging at work, they feel part of something greater than themselves that values and respects them and that they value and respect back. Belonging requires the “three Rs” of relationships, resources, and reciprocity.

The First-Time Manager: DEI is an essential resource for new managers who want to foster a safe, inclusive, and productive space for their teams. This one-of-a-kind guide will:

  • Help you define your inclusive management style.
  • Provide practical guidance on how to create a healthy culture on your teams through equitable practices.
  • Teach you the basics of inclusive language.
  • Offer guidance on how to give and receive feedback.
  • Help you manage identity-based conflict.

The First-Time Manager Series

The First-Time Manager Series

With straight talk and clear action steps on everything from hiring and firing to motivating your team, The First-Time Manager series is your go-to resource as you navigate the realities of managing people.