Beyond the positive bottom-line impacts of diversity and inclusion, Celeste Warren, VP of Human Resources and Global Diversity and Inclusion at Merck, believes “there is an awakening” happening as it relates to how organizations should approach diversity and inclusion.
Employees don’t leave what’s happening inside their families and communities at the doorstep of work. Organizations and leaders have to understand and be prepared to engage workers in what once was considered too personal or touchy topics.
“We can’t expect people to just turn it off when they come into the work environment,” says Warren in my recent interview with her where she shared five tips for leading inclusively.
Baby Boomers and Generation X tend to define diversity along the traditional lines of gender, race, and ethnicity. However, Millennials and Generation Z tend to define diversity more multi-layered ways. "Generation Z thinks more diversely because they’ve been surrounded by diverse, global perspectives through social media and other technology,” says Warren.
The emerging generations also view diversity and inclusion as fundamental to the way a company does business, more so than previous generations. In fact, 53 percent of Millennials would leave their current organization for a more inclusive one and 30 percent have left an organization for a more inclusive one.
According to Warren, there are five characteristics inclusive leaders need to embody.
"An inclusive leader knows when to have the answers and when to let the team figure it out,” says Warren. “If the answer is ‘no’, leaders should provide the context and encourage employees to come back [to the leader] in the future."
Inclusive leaders must be self-aware enough to know when they don’t have the answer and they have to be perceptive enough to know who on the team might have a similar working style or background that might be better equipped to address the issue.
"Create strong group dynamics and an environment where people feel energized, empowered, and engaged to speak their minds,” says Warren. "An inclusive leader should have the ability to unleash the creativity of their team, achieve predetermined objectives, and see the larger opportunities that exist for the team and organization."
Listen to my full interview with Celeste Warren here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies' #1 asset, their people.
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