Tag: team

Are you working for an Inclusive Leader?


During a CIM webinar on ‘Encouraging Solutions to Gender Inequality’ Charlotte Sweeney (Inclusion, Diversity, Wellbeing and Change Leadership specialist) presented a slide on the characteristics of Inclusive Leaders. She made the point that during working life, most people will come across just one or two leaders that truly fit this bill.

Inclusive leaders:
Get to know the people in their business personally.

Focus on the quality of work not the number of hours put in.

Help those around them understand the strategic bigger picture and how they fit in.

Help those around them identify their own strengths and encourage them to build on these.

Actively seek out the ones who could make it to the next level.

Are open to feedback on their performance, behaviours and their skills.

During the webinar the question came up: ‘How is this list any different to what we know the characteristics of any good leader to be’?

The answer to this is that an Inclusive Leader understands that every person influences culture. They recognise that diversity is a fact of everyday life and organisations that have diverse workforces thrive because of the different views a diverse team brings. Value is placed on working with people who are different to yourself, and with this comes a willingness to challenge ‘normal’ behaviours or processes which in turn breeds innovation.

An Inclusive Leader recognises that every person can make a difference no matter what their level in the organisation, no matter their experience or career goals, because every individual has something useful to contribute. And when individuals understand how their contribution adds value and supports the achievement of the corporate strategy, the collective ‘pull’ drives the business forward.

Do you work for an Inclusive Leader? Are you an Inclusive Leader?  What value is placed on diversity within your place of work?
Leave a comment below.


Every business needs a Heather

Heather is a first year degree student working part time at stationery shop Staples, in Redditch, Worcestershire.

Heather is in love with stationery and absolutely adores her job. Her passion for her product and utter joy at the bargains available in store, pours from her heart. Every business needs a Heather.

Now… I also love stationery so I’m a pretty easy-sell. But last Friday I had the best in-store shopping experience I’ve had in a long, long time.

Staples logo
Staples, Redditch. The best in-store shopping experience I’ve had in a long, long time.

I went to Staples to look at the Arc range (which I’ve been admiring online for a while). Arc is essentially a choice of notebook exteriors and customisable inserts. I sat on the floor of the Arc aisle while I flipped through the leather covered book and the poly one, debating the merits of both. Eventually I went to the tills to ask for help.

That’s when I met Heather.

I started the conversation by asking if the poly notebook was flimsy. Heather’s face lit up. “I’ve got one for uni. Shall I go and get mine to show you? It’s amazing. I love it. It’s sooooooo good…”

So off she went to the staff room to fetch her pride and joy.

And boy was she proud.

“I’ve got these little place markers and I use colour coded stickers and pens for each subject. I’ve got the the top tabbed dividers and the side tabbed dividers and I use the small notes pages for to-do lists….”

Heather went on and on…but in a good way. She was so excited about the product and even asked if she could show me where her favourite pens were in store.

Cartoon girl with call out saying I love my job
Do your Heathers love their jobs?

I came away equally enthused. Even though Heather assured me that the poly cover was as good as the leather one (and that if I wasn’t sure I could always buy the bigger rings for more support), I bought the leather cover, lined paper, side tabbed dividers and some plastic wallets.

I had only gone to Staples to look but Heather in her innocent, uncomplicated, authentically personal way, convinced me that the Arc was perfect; that it would somehow improve my life.

So has your business got a Heather? Do your staff evangelise about your products? Does the love they have for their job shine through?

If not, what will you do to find your Heather?

How do you nurture talent?

Flower with water droplets on
Nurturing talent is like watching the petals open on a flower
Image by Kprateek88 via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve recently seen a couple of people from past jobs flourish in roles in new organisations. In fact one of them is writing a blog on his new company’s website, where his previous role would never have allowed for this.

It got me thinking about why these people felt they needed to leave their jobs. Of course, everyone leaves their employer at some point and lots of factors influence that such as your team, the company culture, your day to day tasks etc. But a big factor is whether you feel you can develop in your position and if it’s moving your career in the right direction.

So as a manager I began to explore how you could nurture the talent you’ve already got in your team, so that they don’t feel they need to leave (yet) and you’re not left with a recruitment problem. These are my thoughts:

Ask the individuals in your team what their career goals are

If you don’t know their desired path, how can you support their journey?

Flex where possible

If you’re able to adapt team roles and you can explore the possibility of flexing boundaries, then this added level of responsibility or a newly required level of skill, can be the added ‘push’ your team members need to lift them up to the next stage in their career.

Provide as many opportunities for development as you can

Ambitious individuals, and even those who aren’t ‘ambitious’ but need a change, will relish the opportunity to try new things, work on different projects or work in a different environment. If you can’t provide the exact types of experiences they’re looking for, can you arrange a secondment or work shadowing opportunity within the wider business?

If you’re serious about nurturing talent then you’ll agree that it’s better to keep a good team member within the company but perhaps in a different team, then to lose them elsewhere altogether.

Encourage a learning process

Writing a career plan and setting short and long term targets can help focus the mind. If you’re providing additional experiences and flexing the role, it can be a good idea for this to be captured in a ‘lessons’ document or an informal diary.

Give feedback and get feedback from them

Nurture is about giving constructive feedback and encouraging this as a multi-way process. Giving and receiving feedback ties back to looking at this as a learning experience- it’s what the individual does with the feedback they receive that will determine whether their raw talent is developed or not.

Review their goals with them and help set new ones

Nurturing your team is a long term investment and career goals may change over time. It’s important to keep focussed on what is desired so it can be achieved.

Accept that when the time is right it’s OK for them to move on

In my opinion, the best thing to do is to support your team when they’re ready to leave, so they’ll do so feeling happy.

What’s your experience of nurturing talent?