How to Be an Inclusive Leader Through a Crisis

Excellent article in Harvard Business Review by Ruchika Tulshyan.

Leaders are under extraordinary pressure right now. They are expected to make decisions quickly with incomplete and rapidly evolving information. And unfortunately, being in crisis mode can cause even the most intentional and well-meaning leaders to fall into patterns of bias and exclusion. Research shows that when we’re stressed, we often default to heuristics and gut instincts, rather than making deliberate and goal-oriented decisions.

Ms. Tulshyan offers practical suggestions and “specific tactics to make sure you are prioritizing inclusive behaviors in your workplace during this crisis.”

Ensure that all employees have equal access to technology for remote work.
Make virtual meetings equitable by turning on closed captioning, sending documents, and collecting input in advance.
Begin meetings with acknowledging everyone in the room, not just those with high status or privilege.
Understand how gender bias may show up.
Check in with employees who may be disproportionately impacted by this crisis.
Above all, show compassion.

“The crisis gives us the chance to evaluate the structure of work and how organizational processes have to adapt,” says Abad. As we navigate uncharted territory, we have a unique opportunity to examine ways we could be more inclusive to all employees, but especially those who may be dealing with significantly more challenges.

When we get to the other side of this pandemic, my hope is that more of us learn to lead inclusively and with empathy, not only in crisis but also in calm.

Read: How to be an inclusive leader through a crisis.

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