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Inclusive Leadership in Times of Crisis - The Webinar

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Inclusive Leadership in Times of Crisis

Inclusive leadership is a crucial tool for effectively implementing an Inclusive, Diverse and Equitable environment, especially during times of crisis. Through unfortunate circumstances, over the past few weeks here in Israel, we have gained extensive practical experience in this regard.

Since the beginning of the devastating war in Israel, which started with the massacre on October 7th, many companies are encountering a myriad of challenges. We are working to find time to assist as many organizations as possible, recognizing that the DEI tools we employ, are consistently effective for implementing leadership and inclusion in organizations. These tools are more relevant than ever in times of crisis.

As part of our commitment to assist, we invited leaders in organizations to join a free webinar. Today, we want to share a recording of it with you. The webinar was conducted in Hebrew, but we've included an English transcript.

While we spoke with Israeli leaders, the content is highly relevant and applicable during any crisis, in any location, such as the recent experience we all went through with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is a brief summary of some of the crucial points raised in the webinar. For a personal consultation and support for your organization, we offer a free meeting that you can schedule here

The starting point for us is that organizations should persist in functioning even during crises. While it's not easy, there are several reasons why this continuity is crucial: customers relying on us, avoiding the addition of an economic crisis to the existing one, ensuring the company's survival for the future, and more. However, we can't simply continue with 'business as usual.' We have a responsibility to approach things with a heightened, inclusive perspective to ensure that business continuity goes hand in hand with organizational cohesion. Our goal is to prevent people from feeling the need to seek new opportunities the day after the crisis is over.

During the webinar, we discussed the four dimensions of inclusive leadership in times of crisis. These dimensions encompass both outward leadership—actions taken to ensure team members are treated fairly, empowered, and able to thrive—and inward leadership, which involves our personal capacity to act courageously, learn, and engage in self-reflection.

  1. Empowerment: We need to enable employees to continue to develop and thrive. This includes, for example, involving them in decision-making, ensuring that diverse voices are heard in the company's crisis management decisions. It's crucial to recognize that today's workers seek a balance between home and work more than ever. They may also take various actions to assist others. Therefore, we must be flexible and provide them with the ability to do so.

  2. Accountability: The key rule is that we, as leaders, do not replace employees, and we don’t intend to do their job for them. We express confidence in their abilities and grant them the autonomy to fulfill their responsibilities. Simultaneously, we must collaborate to establish priorities, clearly defining what they can accomplish presently and what they cannot. It is essential to identify the most critical tasks, explain their significance, and establish a clear distinction between short-term and long-term objectives. Additionally, it is crucial to maximize flexibility in terms of deadlines, working hours, and minimizing non-essential meetings, among other factors.

  3. Humility: In the realm of diversity and inclusion, a constant component is the acknowledgment that we don't know everything. Despite our extensive experience and exposure, there's always more to learn. Especially now, it's crucial to avoid making assumptions and presuming to understand others' thoughts and feelings. Instead, we should prioritize listening, be receptive to criticism, encourage diverse opinions, and create safe spaces for sharing concerns. Additionally, active listening remains important; people's perspectives may evolve, and what we heard two weeks ago might not reflect their current sentiments.

  4. Courage: Setting aside personal interests to accomplish what needs to be done and adhering to principles, even if it involves taking risks. We bear the responsibility of recognizing the tensions among different groups and reaffirming our commitment to a company that opposes discrimination and harm, seeking inclusivity for everyone. It's crucial for the organization to provide clear guidelines on what is permissible and what is not. In extreme situations, taking action may involve dismissals or engaging in personal conversations.

We outlined the following points as a summary of the recommended organizational actions:

* Nothing about us without us - do not decide for communities or groups, but give a tailored response by fully listening to the needs and desires arising throughout the process. * Customization and flexibility - Adjusting our actions to align as closely as possible with teams and groups is crucial, given the significant complexity and variations among units within the organization or individuals experiencing the situation differently.

* Continuous communication - Establish clear, open, and consistent channels of communication and information tailored to hierarchy and frequency. For instance, a weekly summary from a senior manager, daily updates from a direct manager, bi-weekly communication from human resources, monthly messages from the CEO, and so forth.

* One stop shop - Integrate and synchronize the actions being done so that there is a coordinating body between all the factors in order to give managers a quick, synchronized and efficient response.

* Flexibility and budgetary independence - Give the integrating entity the flexibility and budgetary independence it needs, allowing for the efficient allocation of funds with minimal bureaucratic processes.

* Internal leadership - to encourage and strengthen the existing internal leadership, and in cases where the leadership does not exist, to strive to build new internal leadership.

* Assuming that we all need help - the basic assumption is that even those who do not ask for help, need help, to be listened to. Some need it more than others

In the webinar, we also discussed how to prepare for intricate and comprehensive conversations with our team. This included proposals for conversations structure and suggestions on what is better left unsaid. Additionally, we heard about interesting examples of actions taken at Strauss Group.

We invite you to watch the webinar >>

For a personal consultation and support for your organization, we offer a free meeting that

you can schedule here.

If you have questions or would like to discuss how to implement inclusive leadership in your organization, we are here to help. Feel free to contact us at #InclusiveLeadership #DEIMindset #DEIStartegy #ERG


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