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December 27, 2016 by Mark Mooney

5 lessons to make inclusive leadership work

To me, inclusive leadership, means consensus building – so that every member of your team feels like they’re part of the process. But it’s never as simple as it looks. For instance, it can be easier to achieve consensus with just a few partners, but the bigger you get, the more difficult and time-consuming the process gets. With that in mind, here are some key lessons to remember when implementing inclusive strategies.

1. Get everyone invested and involved

The major benefit of inclusive leadership is that everyone feels invested and involved in the decision-making process. If fostered correctly, your team will develop a real sense of ownership for their work and the company’s output. This also allows you as a leader to access a variety of perspectives and develop more carefully considered, nuanced decisions.

2. Avoid inefficient inclusiveness

In some cases, inclusiveness can feel like a waste of time and resources. There is a fine line between collaboration and productivity – people still need individual time to look after clients and do what they do best, adding value to the business. An excess of team meetings, for instance, can take away from necessary productivity time. Rather than make the blanket decision to be collaborative at all times, be attentive and recognize moments where delegation is a more efficient path forward.

3. Develop a common goal

When your team has a sense of inclusiveness, everybody is pulling in the same direction, working towards a common goal. Fortunately, this keeps conflict in the workplace to a minimum. With a collegial environment built on consensus, there’s less conflict because everyone feels responsible for the team’s success.

4. Inclusiveness must be managed to work

In a well-functioning example of inclusive leadership, the decision-making should eventually be delegated to the individual or group of individuals with the most appropriate expertise. Once the key decision about your team’s direction has been made, you need to hand over the reigns to those who have the knowledge necessary to make more detail-oriented decisions.

5. Accountability leads to productivity

At my firm we achieve team accountability through an unconventional – but highly effective – method: a peer pressure of sorts. Everyone on our team is accountable to every one else. So say we have a billings deadline, every person is given the responsibility for a task that essential to the project's completion. Our system is effective in the same way as a thriving hockey team. You don’t have to answer to a single leader – you’re accountable to everyone in the “change room” so to speak.

Mark Mooney, BAS, CPA, CA, is co-managing partner of Collins Barrow Kawarthas LLP. Mark’s expertise includes scientific research and experimental development, entrepreneurial services, private enterprise and succession planning. His breakfast of champions usually includes a high protein bowl of cereal or a power bar.

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Meet the Author

Mark Mooney Mark Mooney
Lindsay, Ontario
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