There’s been a lot of buzz lately about inclusive leadership and for good reason – these are the leaders who are rising above the rest. But what exactly is it that they’re doing so well?
Overall, employees who feel part of an inclusive environment feel a 70% increase in experiences of inspiration, fairness, respect, value, belonging and psychological safety – or what we call NeuroSafety™. It’s psychological safety that appears to be the key and it’s what companies like Google are using to their advantage on their highest-performing teams.
According to the study, employees are more collaborative, higher-performing, more engaged and make better decisions when a culture of NeuroSafety™ is in place. That’s great for people as well as the bottom line. In fact, the study shows teams that have inclusive leaders are 29% more willing to believe they collaborate, 20% more likely to feel strongly about their collective decision-making and 17% more likely to perceive themselves as high-performing.
So, how does a leader foster a culture of psychological safety?
Neuroscientists studying how our environment and interactions affect our brain now have clearer insights into the practices leaders can adopt to foster high productivity, innovation and inclusiveness. The following six core SAFETY conditions are an important part of creating that climate:
Our perception of self-worth and relative importance to others. Leaders who are disrespectful and criticize others negatively impact people’s ability to fully engage.
Our perceived ability to predict the future. Our brains are reassured by patterns and familiar experiences. Leaders who are disorganized, inconsistent and communicate infrequently create uncertainty, which is threatening to our brain.
Our deep need to experience equitable exchanges. A leader who is perceived as being unfair can trigger strong emotions, like disgust and resistance. This can wreak havoc on teams when buy-in to change is required.
Our perception of having a personal connection with others. Leaders who don’t know how to build relationships and common ground on their teams are constraining engagement and collaboration.
Our perception of having choice and an ability to influence outcomes. Employees who feel they don’t have a voice and are micromanaged by their boss can experience high levels of stress and are less likely to be innovative.
The lens through which we view intelligence, skills and talent in yourself and others. Leaders with a Fixed Mindset are likely to have a much harder time being inclusive open to new and different input, ideas and even team members.
Noesis delivers neuroleadership consulting and training to organizations handling everyday change and major transformation initiatives. We help our Fortune 500 clients scientifically improve leadership.