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October 2 marks Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.  This date is celebrated in India as a National Holiday and is also celebrated Internationally as the International Day of Nonviolence.  

My favorite quote by Mr. Gandhi is “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  This quote exemplifies the work of inclusion.  The best way that a leader can build an inclusive culture is to embrace and exhibit inclusion on a personal level.  

How can you do this as a leader?  Here are 3 ways to embrace inclusion on a personal level:

1. Recognize your own bias – what assumptions do you make of others based on race, gender, age, appearance, background, or personality style?  Not sure how to determine this?  Observe your interactions over the next week.  Take note of those times when you feel comfortable and when you feel uncomfortable – is there a pattern?  Do you find yourself leaning on the same people for advice?  Do you find yourself avoiding certain people to craft solutions?  These actions may tell you what biases you have.

2. Engage others – Spend some time with someone different from you and get to know them as a person.  Invite someone who is of a different gender, ethnicity, personality style, business unit, sexual orientation, or educational level than you to lunch or coffee and get to know them as a person.  By expanding the people in your network, you gain a broader perspective of those who are different from you.  

3. Ask for Feedback – Consider those on your immediate team, those you partner with, or your customers.  How would they rate you as an inclusive leader?  Ask them to provide their honest feedback on 2 basic questions.  You may be surprised at the answers, but take the time to then address areas of success and opportunity to build your inclusive muscle.

  1. What are the things I do well to create an inclusive environment?
  2. What things do I need to work on to become more inclusive?