Cultivating Inclusive Behaviors & Habits on your Team

Date: Jul 11, 2023
Author: The Pope Team

In a world that strives for diversity and equality, it is essential for people managers to role-model inclusive behaviors within their teams. The Harvard Business Review (HRB) article titled "Make Inclusive Behaviors Habitual on Your Team" examines the importance of cultivating inclusive habits to drive team success. In this blog, we delve into several key insights from the article and explore practical strategies to make inclusion a habitual practice within your team.


Highlight #1: Creating Awareness and Conscious Team Effort

Inclusive behaviors are not merely occasional gestures of social epithet but need to become ingrained in our daily habits. For some, inclusion is political talk and intended to only tick boxes but misses the importance of creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, heard, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. Developing inclusive habits starts with raising awareness and encouraging open discussions about perspectives, biases, experiences, and how similar or different those ideas are in meeting the team’s goals. Inclusive behaviors are not only intended to support those who represent diverse dimensions but for all team members to understand the importance of their roles in creating an inclusive team culture that helps them everyone on the team to thrive and be successful.

One key aspect of inclusive behaviors is active listening. Active listening is a skill that can be developed and improved over time if an individual seeks to truly model inclusive behaviors.Inclusive Leaders/Managers can also set the tone in staff meetings and team interactions that encourage members to listen attentively and seek to understand different perspectives without judgment. One of the ways they can set the stage for this is to begin meetings by sharing or inviting others to share a ‘diversity or inclusion moment.’  A quick example of something someone did recently that they really appreciated that made them feel ‘seen’ or included remindsteam members of the importance of proactive inclusion.  There is a true win in valuing diverse viewpoints from everyone on the team. When team members feel more respected/connected, innovative ideas flourish without fear of retribution or failure.  


Highlight #2: Promoting Psychological Safety

Psychological safety is crucial for creating an inclusive team environment. It is a shared belief within a team or organization that one can take interpersonal risks without fear of negative consequences to their, self-image, status, or career. Team members should be encouraged to ask questions and voice their concerns openly which also helps to establish open lines of communication and encourage constructive feedback. When individuals feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to contribute authentically and collaborate effectively. Teams can quickly and successfully learn from mistakes and document lessons learned which in turn improves collaboration and innovative thinking.


Highlight #3: Empathy, Accountability, and Continuous Improvement

Creating inclusive habits requires accountability and continuous improvement, and also encourages team members to practice empathy by seeking to understand others' experiences and perspectives first. Leaders should regularly evaluate team dynamics, policies, and practices to identify areas for improvement so that teams will adapt quickly to the changing needs of their internal and external customers. It’s also important to recognize and celebrate individual strengths on a team and solicit members’ input on ways the team could work together more effectively.

Inclusion is not a one-time effort but an ongoing journey that requires the development of inclusive habits. When inclusive behaviors become habitual, they foster trust, collaboration, and innovation within the team. The HRB article appropriately highlights the significance of making inclusion a habitual practice within teams by creating awareness, actively listening, promoting psychological safety, embracing empathy and empowerment, and fostering accountability to drive higher-performing team success while also unlocking the full potential of diverse talents and achieving collective success.