Catalyst training: “Managing teams inclusively”

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An inclusive leader makes the effort to get to know their team, figuring out how to get the best out of each individual rather than moulding that person to the team. This helps to build authenticity and trust.

At the last of five webinars in CGIAR’s Inclusive Leadership Program, nearly 50 CGIAR senior managers discussed the importance of managing teams inclusively and how to do it better.

“When you feel that you are known at work, it removes the barriers that block you from being authentic,” says Caroline Pickard, the program trainer from Catalyst, a global non-profit.

“And having that space to be authentic helps you to feel empowered, valued, and psychologically safe,” she adds. “It helps both you and the team to function more effectively.”

The workshop, Managing teams inclusively, which took place on Monday, June 7, saw how team meetings can often exclude members of non-dominant groups, non-native speakers, introverts, women, and remote workers.

This exclusion tends to limit trust within a team, and can be compounded by negative stereotyping, exclusion from influential networks, difficulty getting access to high-visibility assignments, limited influence on decision-making, and a lack of psychological safety.

“Introverts often get overlooked or, even worse, penalized for not speaking up in meetings,” says Caroline. “The skilled inclusive leader knows this about their team member and might ask for feedback after the meeting.”

Besides getting to know team members better, other tips for building an inclusive team are to:

  • Slow down and check self and team assumptions and biases
  • Intentionally include under-represented or excluded team members
  • Address biased comments and behaviors
  • Ensure and model inclusive and equitable language and practices
  • Interrupt bias in systems, policies, programs, and culture
  • Rein in dominating voices by asking them to hold their thoughts and inviting quieter voices, protecting those who’ve been interrupted
  • Utilize breakout groups to maximize engagement and connection
  • Engage in dialogue across difference to foster connection and understand and help team members bring their authentic selves to work
  • Solicit each person’s opinion to maximize participation and avoid group-think when team members must make a group decision

More inclusive workplaces tend to have better problem-solving, work engagement, employee intent to stay, and employee innovation.

Earlier webinars in the Inclusive Leadership program looked at (1) the benefits of inclusion and the six traits of inclusive leadership, (2) unconscious bias, (3) inclusive communication, and (4) emotional tax.

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