Have you ever attended a team meeting and sat with a smile plastered on your face? Then, left with your facial muscles hurting and your energy depleted? This is what happens when you are not included.
Many team members feel this way after attending team meetings. Lack of inclusion during team meetings is often due to cliques, not being part of the leader’s inner circle, or the leader being focused on him or herself.
As a leader, it’s your job to engage each and every person on the team! That’s being inclusive! Because including everyone creates more productive and engaging meetings. It also impacts the quality of results and meeting deadlines. This critical skill creates influential leaders in today’s workplace.
7 Tips to Be Inclusive
- Welcome Each Person as they Join the Meeting, Virtually or On-Site. Use their first name (or the name they wish to be called).
- Introduce People to One Another. Take responsibility for introducing people to one another at every meeting. Don’t assume team members know one another or feel comfortable socializing without some help. For example, on Zoom calls, allow 15 seconds for each person to give a quick intro. Being seen and heard sets a positive tone for the meeting or event.
- Ask for Each Person’s Opinion. During brainstorming and idea generation meetings, give everyone a chance to speak. And provide them with the option to “pass.” I go around the group more than once to ensure everyone has an opportunity to talk. And I almost always get better interaction the second time around.
- Acknowledge Each Idea. Say something positive, “Wow!” “That’s great.” “Hadn’t thought about that one.” When you value ideas, others feel comfortable offering their thoughts and insights. Reserve judgment about the quality of their ideas for later. It’ll be evident if an idea won’t work for a project or issue. Yet, I’ve seen the lamest ideas become epic solutions! So, learn patience and trust the process!
- Don’t Offer Your Ideas Upfront (as the leader or boss). During proper brainstorming activities, you want people’s unfiltered Otherwise, sharing your ideas first will have team members telling you what you want to hear. Even worse, team members won’t speak up because they are afraid to disagree with you. So, wait until everyone has an opportunity to share before offering your ideas. I use this tactic for every meeting. It’s incredible how this simple approach generates more engagement and better ideas.
- Assign Tasks Appropriately. When assigning tasks, base your decisions on the team member’s skills and not on whom you like the best. Allow people to volunteer first before making assignments. If the team member volunteering doesn’t have the skills, have them work with someone who is an excellent teacher. Otherwise, the tasks won’t get done correctly (if at all), and the person will disengage from the team. I use the PXT Select to ensure I know each team member’s skill level.
- Appreciate Each Person. Make sure to appreciate and acknowledge each team member for their contribution, whether large or small. Remember to use “please,” “thank you,” and “great job” often.
©Jeannette Seibly 2021-2022 All Rights Reserved
Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning international executive and family business management consultant, keynote speaker, and author for over 29 years. Her focus is to guide leaders to make a positive difference. Feel stuck moving your team forward? Want straightforward counsel on how to do it? Let’s chat! Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.
A note from Jeannette about including every team member: Being inclusive isn’t hard. But it does take awareness, skill, and commitment to ensure all team members feel welcomed, respected, and valued during calls or on-site meetings. So if you are hesitant about what to do, let’s start a conversation to get you into inclusive and productive action. Let’s chat now!