Simone Sloan—diversity and inclusion specialist, business strategist and leadership coach—discusses how to become an inclusive leader. Simone shares her own early discovery that leaders with transactional management styles cannot nurture the kind of inclusive community at work that they need to succeed and advance. Bolstering practice with study and research, Simone explains how to lean in and understand team members’ experiences to: communicate differently, withhold judgments, connect and shift relationships, and improve collaboration.
[02:25] Feeling the impact of a manager saying your inputs and ideas aren’t important or valued.
[03:50] What Simone discovered when she started branching out across the organization.
[04:20] The benefits of advocates and allies within your company.
[05:18] Building social capital – where women often miss out.
[06:14] When Simone took time to reflect and started being intentional about reaching out for short one-on-one meetings, she was surprised by the positive reactions she got.
[07:08] The importance of follow through and being strategic about building your tribe at work.
[08:39] During a merger, a colleague told Simone they ‘didn’t know her’. What did they mean and why did it matter?
[10:30] How Simone connected differently with her reports after she re-introduced herself.
[11:35] As relationships deepened across the team, the energy shifted and collaboration improved.
[13:15] How Simone transitioned from marketing to inclusive leadership by studying human behavior.
[13:45] What is ontological coaching and how does it help leaders perform?
[14:15] The difference it makes to start a meeting genuinely asking, ‘How is everyone doing?’.
[16:00] By understanding how everyone is showing up, it’s possible to shift a meeting from being transactional to intentional.
[16:40] How emotional intelligence creates awareness which leads to organizational clarity.
[17:35] Changing leadership styles and how to define what kind of leader you are.
[18:56] Simone explains how to be intentional about fostering an empathy-based company culture as a leader.
[20:44] How to help people connect by telling their diverse stories.
[22:06] Combining understanding and accountability—are you asking the right questions?
[22:40] Inclusive leadership means creating a safe space for people to share without retribution.
[23:52] The additional human dimension that COVID has pushed us all to understand.
[24:22] How vulnerability humanizes leaders and helps support people they’re not alone.
[25:46] Simone starts with values—what do you value as a human being?
[27:03] People want to be: welcomed, valued, respected, and heard—with commitment. Without one one of these, it’s exclusion.
[27:40] It’s a lot of work to make sure all four of these components are in place, but that’s the role a leader has to take on.
[27:53] How we start to reduce polarization and division across the country?
[29:15] We are in a period of change, which is why there is tension.
[29:57] Simone sees lack of trust as the greatest hindrance to cooperation going forward.
[30:40] Communication is the key to building trust, paying attention to style, cadence and content.
[32:25] Putting aside assumptions and judgments about others is essential when collaborating and communicating with others -- allowing them to show you how they see themselves.
[32:52] How leaders can reduce judgments with intentional awareness and reality checking.
[36:10] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: To become a more inclusive leader, think about what kind of experience people are having with you.
“When you are in it from a non-management role, that's where you feel the impact of what's inclusive, and what's not.”
“Think about who do I know, who knows me, who have I been interacting with? And start bridging out, and asking for a 15-minute one-on-one.”
“After opening up about our mood then we get into the agenda. Then we can start tackling things because now we have an understanding of where everyone's coming from and how they're showing up.”
“How are you defining your leadership style? Because some people have no clue, they're just like, ‘I just do.’”
“During this pandemic, I've seen more leaders get more vulnerable. When people can humanize themselves in front of large groups, people go, ‘Oh I'm not alone.’”
“People want to be welcomed, valued, respected, and heard. If one of those four things do not exist, it's an exclusion.”
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