At a panel event for the launch of Mace’s women’s network earlier this week I was asked to share one piece of advice I’d give their leadership team as they embark on their journey. My answer was to lead by example and treat it like any other business project.
Leading by example might sound obvious but too many leaders talk the talk on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion but don’t walk the walk.
I’m currently reading Brené Brown’s book,“Daring Greatly", and it occurred to me that even if you are “walking the walk”, just how important it is to be open and show some vulnerability when you do it.
What do I mean by that? Being honest that you don’t have all the answers. That it’s a journey and you need help to get there. The fear is you’re expected to know what to do, how to solve the problem, and saying you don’t will pass on that fear - and that’s frightening in itself. In reality, sharing that is incredibly inspiring and is often what drives real momentum and ultimately the change you’re looking for.
Most people want to help. They want to contribute. Saying you need help empowers them to step up. To take a risk. To make mistakes and learn from them.
And that’s the type of culture that leads to the change in mindset you need to make progress - and, I would argue, not just in E, D & I...