Practicing inclusivity

Ideas, rituals, and tips
for leading a more inclusive team

Shuffle

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Schedule virtual 1:1s to get to know team members from different offices.

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Make it a practice to share a meal or coffee with someone outside of your team or function once a month.

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Respect your team members’ personal lives by not expecting email responses after hours or during weekends.

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Establish “golden time”: protected time on calendars for individuals’ personal commitments. Work as a team to ensure everyone’s golden time is communicated and respected.

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Be truly present: Turn your camera on for all video meetings and conference calls.

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Speak face-to-face when working through disagreements, or when offering constructive feedback.

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When attending a meeting on behalf of your team, represent the views of your team members even if you don’t agree with them.

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In discussions, invite quieter people to share what’s on their minds, and create space for them to be heard.

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Have a “no screens” rule so you can give each other undivided attention.

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Establish meeting etiquette ground rules with your team and stick to them.

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For global teams, rotate the start time of standing meetings so each time zone is accommodated.

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Vary who sits at the head of the table, or in meetings with remote attendees, near the phone (the power position).

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Rotate responsibility for taking meeting notes, and record them in a format that can be easily shared and accessed.

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For group discussions on topics that may get contentious or convoluted, bring in an outside facilitator to ensure a healthy, productive discussion.

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Consider commutes when bringing teams together to do important work—make sure you’re including those who need to be in transit for long periods of time.

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Share gratitude with at least one person every day.

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Once a month, write a thank-you note to someone whose work you want to recognize.

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At weekly team meetings, ask each person to express gratitude for something another team member did in the past week.

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Practice active listening: Adjust your body language to show that you’re attentive, make direct eye contact, and put down your phone.

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After each meeting, determine who was missing that would most value hearing about what was discussed. Then, follow up with them.

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Allow for open brainstorming time in group settings, so all ideas and opinions have a chance to be expressed.

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Share a meal with someone whose point of view differs from your own.

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Spend time with your colleagues outside of the office, in order to build connection and trust.

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Schedule (and uphold) regular 1:1s with your team.

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Ask each person on your team to identify where they are on a series of spectrums related to how they work best, such as early bird vs. night owl, or email vs. in person. Use the insights surfaced to determine how the team will work together.

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At a team offsite, ask people to share stories about a time when they felt they belonged or fit in, and a time when they didn’t. Reflect on these stories so each team member can realize their biases and blind-spots in interacting with others.

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When someone new joins your team or project, meet with them to understand where they feel confident jumping in and where they need extra coaching.

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Get to know the unique skills and experiences that each person brings to the table—hint: it’s more than their job title. One way to do this is to have each person do one of the many strength finding assessments (e.g. Superpowers by SYPartners, Strengthsfinder) and then share their results with the team.

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When you enlist people to act, explain the “why” behind what you’re asking for.

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Start each team meeting with a recap of recent decisions made by the leadership team to make sure everyone knows how outcomes were reached.

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Establish and communicate who the ultimate owner or decision maker is on each part of a project, and what success looks like.

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Improve accessibility for people with visual impairments by adding image descriptions to materials and websites.

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In HR materials, use imagery that is representative of a diverse team.

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Create opportunities for two-way mentorship between younger and older employees.

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Improve accessibility for those with physical disabilities by maintaining clear, wide walkways in your office.

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As a team, educate yourselves about microaggressions in the workplace and reflect on the impact of your actions.

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Include transcripts or captions for team videos.

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Make it a norm for team members of all levels to share their POV during meetings.

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Encourage pronouns to be included in email signatures.

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Send out the meeting agenda and materials well in advance to allow everyone to process and prepare for discussion at their own pace. Give team members a heads up if you plan to ask for input in a meeting.

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When someone exits the team, don't recycle the same job description for the next hire. Consider the skills already present on your team, and hire to fill gaps and maximize diversity.

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Kick off every new project with a discussion about team norms and values.

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Hold a mock press conference before making a big decision. Get a few people to represent each option and have the rest of the team be the press gallery—asking questions, testing assumptions, and challenging ideas. The aim is not to stump them, or cut them down, but to consider different perspectives and generate positive discussion.

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Have a weekly team breakfast where members take turns sharing a source of personal inspiration (such as a story, a poem, or a video).

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Have a regular ritual of pausing to ask, “who are we not hearing from?” and, “what are we missing?” Then, take action to mitigate those gaps.

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Make sure everyone on the team knows each others' names and pronouns.

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Take note of individuals’ dietary restrictions and out-of-work obligations, and plan meetings accordingly.

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Kick off meetings with a quick temperature check of how people are doing.

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Acknowledge current events and provide space for team members to process them.

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Encourage—and model—taking the time to get to know everyone on the team on an individual level. Don't be afraid to ask questions that probe more deeply into the humanity of the individual. What are their interests? What is going on in their lives?

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Start discussions with the input of people who have joined by phone.

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Encourage team members to submit comments and questions before, during, and after meetings through a digital tool (such as Slido), and follow up with the group about questions that don't get addressed during the meeting.