In Performance reviews should promote inclusive leadership

In order to secure an inclusive workplace, leaders must be held accountable for the culture of their business. This lesson explores how performance evaluations, can be used as a tool, to encourage management to promote the inclusive workplace.

Expectations for Inclusive Leadership

For an organization committed to a culture of inclusion, performance evaluations for leadership should always include goals related to this objective. Let’s look at the relationship between leadership roles and the appropriate expectations for inclusive leadership competency.To illustrate inclusive leadership qualities, let’s follow Hiram, a fictional warehouse manager, as he seeks to meet his employer’s expectations for a more inclusive workplace. As far as performance evaluations go, Hiram’s company is committed to using them to evaluate the efficacy of the goals and objectives they’ve given their employees. This means that all of the company’s expectations of Hiram include the expectation to provide inclusive leadership that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART). In other words, it’s not enough to simply tell Hiram, ”Be more inclusive in your department.”Let’s review a few SMART objectives that could be used to evaluate the quality of Hiram’s inclusive leadership.

Inclusive Initiatives ; Decisions

1. Inclusive Initiatives

An initiative is characterized as a program or action, taken of one’s own accord, in order to bring about a goal or objective.

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Evaluating Hiram’s inclusive initiatives could include things like:

  • Assessing his active steps taken to foster an inclusive culture
  • His creativity in finding and executing strategies to improve inclusiveness
  • Year-over-year improvements in the reduction of exclusive practices

Consistent with the best practice of using SMART goals, these criteria are objectively measurable, and they are quite specific.

2. Inclusive Decisions

Inclusive decision making can be tricky.

If we were to imagine that Hiram’s department is already three full-time employees (FTEs) over the normal level, how would or should he allow participation in the decision-making process? This isn’t a warehouse version of the TV show Survivor, and inclusive decision-making doesn’t mean Hiram has to ask his staff which three employees must be voted off the island.The best way to accomplish this delicate task is to focus on solutions rather than problems. Staffing is always tied to productivity. In other words, Hiram can likely hire as many people as he needs to be appropriately productive.

As a result, Hiram can demonstrate inclusive decision-making by asking his staff to help him decide how to make the department more productive, rather than less staffed.

You do not have to take a vote on everything in order to include others in decision-making.

Being three FTEs high is a lot, and in reality, it’s not likely that Hiram can save all three jobs. That, however, isn’t really the goal here. The goal is for Hiram to demonstrate the ability to be inclusive in decision-making. Hiram’s handling of this situation is something concrete that could be discussed in his next performance review.

Talent Inclusivity

3. Inclusive of Talent

For many managers, being inclusive of great talent can actually be terrifying. What if one or more of the employees show the manager up, or openly demonstrates that they’re a lot more competent than their supervisor?Inclusive leaders don’t worry about this.

Hiram doesn’t have to be the fastest, strongest, or most efficient warehouse worker. He needs to be a leader. Performance reviews should promote inclusive leadership by rewarding managers who surround themselves with the best talent available, even if that talent far exceeds that of the manager’s own.

This can be evaluated effectively on a performance review by taking a retroactive look at the department’s personnel decisions and encouraging hiring decisions that are inclusive of top talent, rather than being threatened by it.

Employee Inclusivity

4. Including Everyone

Hiram should also be evaluated on his ability to understand and respond to the cultural variances that is often the underlying reason for a particular communication style. In some cultures, it’s a sign of profound disrespect to publicly disagree with a superior.

In other cultures, whistle-blowing, reporting internal bad behavior, is seen as an act that should be shunned because it destroys trust, rather than promoting integrity, and may even harm productivity.

An inclusive leader makes sure that all voices are heard before going all in. Even the quietest voices matter.

Hiram’s inclusiveness should be evaluated for his ability to get input from everyone on his team.

Specifically, this includes making sure that the thoughts of introverts (naturally more quiet individuals) are afforded the same time and weight as the louder voices. Without a doubt, Hiram has a few staff members who can always be counted on to be the first opinion, the loudest voice, or the most black-and-white opinion. Inclusive leadership means that Hiram can take measurable action to practice a leadership style that assures voices of all volumes to be heard and appreciated.

5. Inclusive Recruitment and Candidate Selection

One of Hiram’s most important duties as a hiring manager is to be inclusive in candidate recruitment and selection.

Recruitment and selection are not the same thing, and Hiram’s ability to discern the difference is a criterion that has to be met in his inclusive reviewBeing inclusive in candidate selection is easier than being inclusive in recruitment. During the selection process, a candidate has the opportunity to have Hiram’s undivided attention to showcase their talents. But if Hiram isn’t inclusive in his recruiting efforts, he’ll never get to see the whole talent pool.

In a community of 80% African-Americans, an applicant pool made up of all white faces probably means the company should be more inclusive in their recruitment efforts.


As a result, his performance reviews should reflect the importance of inclusive recruitment as evidenced by his efforts to reach potential candidates from all backgrounds. These criteria can evaluate questions like:

  • Do Hiram’s job advertisements reach every corner of the community, or just the obvious ones?
  • Does the composition of Hiram’s team and his candidate pool generally reflect the make-up of the community around him?
  • Has Hiram been a party to complaints that allege non-inclusive behavior? It’s important to note that it’s important to investigate such complaints thoroughly, but also not allowing unfounded complaints to negatively impact a performance review.

Lesson Summary

Let’s review what we’ve learned about assessing leadership competencies in inclusive performance evaluations, which are evaluations of the employees’ efficacy in carrying out a company or organization’s goals and objectives. A company committed to an inclusive workforce will never attain that goal without a genuine commitment from their leaders. In order to underscore the importance of inclusive strategy and action, performance evaluations for company leadership should include objectives and criteria directly relevant to inclusiveness.

Criteria to be evaluated for inclusive behavior should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART).At the front lines, the companies should encourage managers to take the initiative, or act independently, to make the workplace more inclusive. Inclusive leadership requires inclusivity in decision-making, recruiting, managing, and utilizing talent.


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