Today's workplace continues to be a place of opportunity for learning and expanding our understanding of each other. At times, it can feel challenging and as if things are not progressing, especially in the area of inclusivity. Folks can often feel as if they do not belong, which can lead to retention issues, among other things. In this webinar, we examined the importance of being an inclusive and impactful leader and shared important tips and guidance to apply at your workplace. 

Key takeaways:

  • Identify the importance of an inclusive workplace.
  • Outline steps to become an inclusive leader.
  • Discuss how to create an inclusive workplace.
  • Move from inclusive to impactful.

Webinar presenter Patricia Izek, MEd., is the equity, diversity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant in the Office of Human Resources at the University of Minnesota. She presents on DEI for units across the University, including two Equity and Diversity Certificate workshops: Implicit Bias in the Search Process and Selection Processes and Addressing Implicit Bias and Microaggressions.

Presented on March 20, 2024.

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Webinar Takeaways

Strive to be a leader from the 21st century rather than from the 20th.

What does that mean? 

The 21st century workplace is more ... diverse, mobile, innovative, demanding, collaborative, flexible, tech-savvy.

The 21st century workplace

  • provides training and professional development
  • encourages employee resource groups and affinity groups
  • offers flexible work arrangements
  • examines policies, processes, and procedures
  • checks in regularly vs. annually.

Some examples from the webinar include:

  • The 20th-century leader focuses on themselves and their leadership is about how good it will make them look. The 21st-century leader focuses on the people they are serving and asks “How can the people I am leading succeed and grow?

  • The 20th-century leader cares about people if they are serving the leader’s needs. The 21st-century leader cares about people, period.

  • The 20th-century leader operates from a fixed mindset and is not prepared to show the vulnerability associated with “not knowing.” The 21st-century leader operates from a growth mindset and is comfortable with the vulnerability that comes with the statement “I do not know yet.”

How to be a great 21st-century leader

Be a conscious active listener

  • Listen to understand, not solve

  • Listen to learn, not create a defense

  • Be present, remove distractions

  • Body language is loud and says a lot

  • Notice their nonverbal cues

  • Questions should be open-ended to encourage conversation

  • Paraphrasing demonstrates your engagement

Be curious

  • Be authentic, offer yourself first

Include equitably

  • Invite others usually not included

  • Mention the individual with the original thought

  • Share information broadly

Own your bias

  • We are all biased, know yours

  • Say them out loud and share them

Be culturally aware

  • Be aware of the dominant culture

  • Avoid acronyms, jokes, outdated sayings

Be a collaborator

  • Reach beyond your comfort zone

  • Ask “Who is missing?” “Who should be here?”

Lead with humility and authenticity

  • Look in the mirror and really see yourself

  • Own yourself and your errors