Skip to content

UXL Blog

Creating Successful Leaders

Tag Archives: margaret smith career coach

For the past few years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been a hot topic in the workplace. Companies have pledged billions of dollars to DEI initiatives (although they haven’t necessarily followed through with those pledges), have hired DEI directors and consultants, and have declared their support of DEI efforts. While these intentions are good, not all of this work has been effective or impactful. It’s easy to talk about doing something, and far more difficult to follow through in a meaningful way. When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion, it’s not enough to make surface level changes; this work requires collaboration, strategy, data, and the will to take meaningful actions. Here are 5 actions you, as a leader, can take:

1. Create a Diversity and Inclusion Council

Creating a diversity and inclusion council is a great way to involve a variety of employees at different levels of the company in the work of promoting diversity and inclusion. This council can help develop and implement diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the company, and help ensure that different perspectives are represented. Remember: make an effort to invite a wide variety of people to serve on this council. It can be counterproductive for a fairly homogenous group to make decisions that will affect others with very different backgrounds and experiences.

2. Collect Data

If you don’t have data about diversity metrics, how will you know when and if your DEI initiatives are working? This data could be quantitative (stats about demographics, numbers related to hiring practices, promotion rates, etc.) or qualitative (responses to surveys, complaints or negative feedback, testimonials from either private meetings or forums, etc.). Collecting diversity metrics can be a powerful way to identify areas where the company is excelling and where improvements can be made. Once the data is collected, use it to inform strategies and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion.

3. Embed DEI Principles into Performance Goals

Incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into performance goals can help ensure that these values are front and center in the work that employees do every day. When employees see that DEI work is valued and rewarded, they are more likely to take it seriously and make it a priority in their own work.

4. Review and Update Policies

Policies that are not inclusive can have a negative impact on diverse employees. Reviewing and updating policies to ensure they are inclusive is a crucial step in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This includes policies around hiring, promotion, performance evaluations, and workplace accommodations.

5. Foster a Culture of Inclusion

Creating a culture of inclusion requires effort from everyone in the company. Leaders can set the tone by modeling inclusive behavior and encouraging others to do the same. This includes listening to diverse perspectives, actively seeking feedback, and ensuring everyone feels valued and respected. It also means creating opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds to participate in decision-making and leadership roles.

While it’s beneficial to conduct diversity and inclusion training, don’t stop there! And don’t make this a one-time endeavor. DEI work must be ongoing and embraced by people at all levels of the company, from the leadership to support staff.

Incorporating meaningful diversity and inclusion actions in the workplace is necessary for creating a more equitable and welcoming environment for all employees. It requires a strategic and collaborative effort from everyone in the company—all voices and contributions make a difference. While these five actions are a good starting point, they should not be the end goal. Companies must continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion and be open to ongoing adaptation and improvement. True progress requires ongoing effort and a willingness to adapt and improve.



Tags: , , , , , ,

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

As a leader, it’s important to foster a culture of accountability within your team. Holding your team accountable does not have to come at the expense of compassion or empathy. In fact, heart-led leadership can be very powerful, even when you have to draw a line in the sand at times and hold your people accountable for their words, behaviors, and actions. Here are six steps you can take to create a culture of accountability within your team:

Step 1: Clearly Define Expectations

The first step to creating a culture of accountability is to clearly define expectations. Make sure everyone on your team knows what is expected of them, whether in terms of individual goals or team goals (make sure everyone is on board with a shared vision). This can be done through one-on-one meetings or team meetings where expectations are laid out and discussed.

Step 2: Set SMART Goals

Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals is an effective way to hold your team accountable. These goals should be aligned with company objectives and should be reviewed regularly to ensure progress is being made. The “M” in SMART goals is particularly important because it ensures that progress can be measured and tracked.

Step 3: Provide Ongoing Feedback

Regular feedback is key to holding your team accountable since it allows you to address any issues early on and make adjustments as needed. Make sure to provide both positive and constructive feedback on a regular basis to keep your team on track. This feedback can be given individually or, if appropriate, during team meetings. I usually recommend using the D4 model, which stands for Data, Depth of Feeling, Dramatic Interpretation, and Do. To learn more about this model, view my past blog post on the topic.

Step 4: Lead by Example

As a leader, it’s important to lead by example. This means holding yourself accountable as well as your team. Make sure you are following through on your commitments and are meeting your own goals. This will set the tone for your team and help create a culture of accountability.

Step 5: Encourage Ownership

Encouraging ownership is another effective way to create a culture of accountability. When someone feels like they truly have a stake in a project AND the power to make a significant contribution, they are more likely to take ownership and be accountable for the outcome. Give your team members autonomy and empower them to make decisions and take responsibility for their work.

Step 6: Celebrate Successes

Finally, celebrate successes! Recognize when your team members meet their goals, achieve a milestone, or exceed expectations. This creates a positive team culture and reinforces the importance of accountability. Celebrating successes can be done through verbal recognition, awards, or team outings.

Creating a culture of accountability is key to the success of any team. By following these six steps, you can start creating a culture of accountability that is both compassionate and effective (you can have both!). Foster growth and success for your team and your organization through intelligent accountability practices.


Tags: , , , , ,

Photo by Kvalifik on Unsplash

In today’s constantly evolving business landscape, innovation and creativity have become essential for organizations to stay ahead of the curve. As a leader, it’s important to create a workplace environment that encourages and fosters creativity, allowing employees to innovate and progress in their work.

It’s easy to stay safely within the status quo, but “business as usual” is a sure recipe for stagnation and, eventually, falling behind. To become a truly innovative workplace, it is vital to take some risks, test the waters, and re-strategize when necessary.

Here are some strategies to encourage innovation and creativity in the workplace:

Welcome Diverse Perspectives

One of the key ingredients to encourage creativity and innovation in the workplace is to welcome diverse perspectives. A team comprised of individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and skillsets will bring unique ideas to the table. Far too often, we silence or discourage diverse voices and “never been done” ideas. But to achieve innovation, we must encourage employees to speak up and share their ideas. Make sure everyone knows their opinions are valued by truly listening and taking their thoughts, opinions, and ideas seriously.

Encourage Open Communication and Feedback

Another way to encourage creativity in the workplace is to foster an environment that promotes open communication and feedback between team members, and between the team leader and their team. As a leader, it’s essential to encourage your people to share their opinions, ask questions, and collaborate with each other. You may even open a couple avenues for anonymous communication (such as through surveys or anonymous forums). When it comes to generating new ideas and approaches to solving problems, communication is vital.

Accept Mistakes

Innovation is often accompanied by mistakes. Famously, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” As a leader, it’s important to foster a culture where mistakes are accepted and seen as opportunities for growth and learning. Encourage your employees to experiment, take risks, and not be afraid of failing. Mistakes are a part of the learning process and we can take away valuable lessons and information from them. By accepting mistakes, you create an environment that is more conducive to innovation.

Provide Support and Resources

Innovation requires resources and support. As a leader, it’s essential to provide your team with the tools and resources they need to succeed. This may include time, money, software, hardware, and other resources. You must also actively seek new ideas and processes to support your team’s innovative endeavors. Providing support and resources is a key way to show that you value innovation and creativity in the workplace.

Test a Few Different Routes

Testing different routes can lead to creative solutions. Encourage your team to experiment and try different approaches to problem-solving. Brainstorming sessions, prototyping, and testing different solutions can lead to unexpected yet effective solutions. Remember to keep careful track of your methods, collect as much data as possible, and analyze that data to make informed decisions.

Encourage Continuous Learning

Innovation requires continuous learning, so it’s important to encourage your employees to keep learning and developing new skills. Provide opportunities for training, workshops, and conferences. Also, encourage your team to access online resources and attend webinars. By investing in your team’s education and development, you’ll create a culture that values innovation and is constantly striving for improvement.

Don’t Micromanage the Process!

Finally, one of the most important things a leader can do to encourage innovation and creativity in the workplace is to avoid micromanaging the process. Micromanaging can stifle creativity and prevent your team from exploring new ideas. Instead, give your team the freedom to take calculated risks, experiment, and innovate.

Encouraging innovation and creativity in the workplace is crucial for staying ahead in today’s fast-paced business world. By following these strategies, you can create a workplace where employees feel empowered to take risks, collaborate, and experiment with new ideas. Remember, innovation is a journey and not a destination. By fostering a culture that values innovation and creativity, you can create endless possibilities for your team and your organization.


Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: