In times of social, political or economic uncertainty, everyone looks for a great leader. If you stand up, you will not only lead your people but expand your influence in the process. Here’s how.
There’s an enormous amount of discord, improvisation and overall uncertainty in America and the world right now. So what do you do if you are in charge of an organization or a group of people who are increasingly nervous? It’s not easy or simple to be a great leader in times like this. After all, you have to protect your employees and your stakeholders’ interest and those two things can often be at odds. Yet this need not interfere with the role you can play as a great leader who inspires confidence and trust.
Case in point, in the face of the current negative narrative being built around immigrants and women, you have an opportunity to become a beacon of stability and stand out as a great leader. You have a chance to inspire unity at a time when many of your employees dread getting out of bed in the morning. If they feel their workplace embraces their uniqueness, respects differences, and encourages an ongoing dialog about difficult topics, they will feel safe. As a result, not only will you retain your best talent, but you will also attract employees and customers who value a company that stands for true diversity and inclusion.
Learn more on leadership from Sergio Kaufman of Accenture
How do you show you are a great leader?
There was never a better time to double down on your diversity and inclusion efforts. To make sure they don’t stay as mere rhetoric but that they are real, palpable initiatives, procedures, mindsets, etc. Here are a few ways to do it.
1Get sponsorship for your D&I initiatives from the very top. Be consistent. Get your C-suite team behind any initiatives wholeheartedly.
2Establish clear D&I goals and tie them to executive compensation. When you tie in performance and compensation, you create a shortcut for getting people behind initiatives they may have considered “nice haves.” Suddenly, these become business priorities.
3Measure your initiatives, scale up and expand those that work well. We all know the saying, “That which gets measured gets done.” So find the right way to measure the success of your initiatives so you can quickly build on them.
4Offer opportunities of exposure to women and minorities. If you’re promoting the virtues of more inclusion at the top, you must offer your diverse talent opportunities for visibility. Again, consistency is the name of the game. If you offer people training and development programs and then fall short of bringing them along for the ride, you’re not putting your money where your mouth is.
5Highlight publicly the work your women & minorities do. Public praise goes a long way to attracting visibility to people who might otherwise go unnoticed.
Expand your leadership reach
A great leader exercises leadership both inside and outside of their organizations. So flaunt your leadership by sending strong inclusion messages to your current and potential clients on traditional and social media.
1Create marketing campaigns directed to women and minorities. They must underscore respectful, empowering, positive, optimistic messages regarding people with different backgrounds, religions and points of view.
2Clearly condemn messages that stereotype different groups and messages that promote fear of the other, or hatred.
3Support the work of other organizations. Align yourself with organizations like the Red Shoe Movement that promote issues of equality in a positive way.
By taking these very simple steps you will be standing out as a great leader. One who stands on the right side of history.