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Can you have Inclusive Leadership in a Remote World??
We say YES!!!
February 16, 2022 at 8:00 AM

You have your remote work setup all figured out. You have a system in place that allows you to support your team and clients worldwide, no matter where they are. Your team-building skills are better than ever, and your project management has you and your team more productive than ever before.

However, what about leading your team? What about being inclusive, setting standards that everyone can contribute to, encouraging inclusion by rewarding good ideas from anyone's point of view, setting examples, and showing encouragement for others in meetings? These leadership techniques can be challenging when working with a remote workforce. This article focuses on ways to be an effective leader and help everyone feel included in the remote work environment.

What Is Inclusive Leadership?

Inclusive leadership is a practice that involves creating an atmosphere of belonging and inclusion where all employees feel valued, heard, and respected.

Inclusive leaders promote diversity and belonging and take proactive steps to ensure their teams represent the customers they serve. They create cultures where every employee has the chance to contribute and be seen for who they are and what they bring.

Leaders who practice inclusion build trust among team members and encourage collaboration by being approachable and supportive. They acknowledge the value everyone brings to an organization. They include all employees in conversations and decisions that impact their work.

Inclusive leadership isn't a new concept. Companies have been working to create more inclusive environments for employees and customers for years. But the pandemic has forced companies to pivot quickly to a remote work model. Remote work, by its nature, can be inclusive, and it opens the door to hiring and working with people from various backgrounds in different locations worldwide. This can help companies expand their employee bases and be more competitive, innovative, and productive.

The Remote Workplace

Remote teams are more common now than ever before. There's no doubt that remote work has its advantages; for one, it allows for an incredibly diverse talent pool to join a team and offers flexibility in their schedules and location. However, there's also been research to suggest that remote teams can struggle with inclusion and belonging.

For instance, companies often combat this with initiatives like virtual happy hours or social events. These activities can unintentionally exclude team members with different cultural norms or family expectations regarding alcohol consumption or attend non-business-related social events outside of work hours.

What Are Some Examples of Inclusive Leadership?

COVID-19 has challenged our assumptions about remote work. What was once considered an option has become a necessity for many, and we're all trying to make it work.

We've known that remote work is practical for a while, but the pandemic has put it under a microscope. It's forced us to think critically about the challenges of creating and maintaining an inclusive culture across a distributed workforce and how we can continue building strong relationships with our colleagues despite the constraints of social distancing.

Enter inclusive leadership — a concept we can all benefit from right now. Inclusive leadership at its core is about understanding your team members as individuals, creating space for them to participate in ways that fit their unique needs, and fostering an environment where they feel safe to be themselves. Some examples of inclusive leadership practices include:

  • Providing equal opportunities for everyone to contribute their ideas and opinions in meetings, brainstorming sessions, and other team activities.
  • Listening carefully to others' opinions before forming your own.
  • Being open to new ideas from others, even if they don't match your expectations or experiences (these are great learning moments!).
  • Being a leader who makes every team member feel included in the conversation.
  • Making sure everyone feels like their voice matters.
  • Building a culture where people can be authentic and express their diverse experiences and perspectives in the workplace.

In short, inclusive leadership means creating an environment where people feel safe and supported.

How Can A Remote Work World Be Inclusive?

The remote work world is growing, and with that growth comes a need for leadership that's both effective and inclusive. This is a much more complex issue than it first appears because the remote work environment presents challenges for teamwork and communication that your average office doesn't.

But if you're willing to put in the effort, being an inclusive leader in a remote work environment isn't just possible — it could be your competitive advantage. After all, when you have employees working from all over the world, diverse perspectives are a natural part of your company culture, and you need to make sure they're taken into account.

The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly forced many businesses to adopt remote work as a new way of life. So with the increases in remote work and distributed teams, how can you encourage and support inclusion in your remote team?

Inclusiveness is about creating an environment where everyone feels they belong and can be their authentic selves. To become more inclusive as a leader, you can start by looking at you