Inclusive Leaders Turn Performance Reviews into Gold Mines

Attention managers and team leaders! Here’s great advice from Great Place to Work (Gulf) CEO, Ron Thomas:

“Our workforces have the ability to be a percolator of ideas and solutions if we would just turn the spigots on. Letting our employees know that we are dependent upon their ideas and thoughts has the potential for any organization to break out of the pack and shift power to the people who are closest to the issues. It’s simple: Turn them loose, unleash their powers, and watch things happen.”

Thomas shared this wisdom in a July blog post on, “Leaders Get More Out of People When They Don’t Wear the Crown.” He cautions leaders against buying into the notion that they’re “the ones with all the gold-plated ideas” simply by virtue of the titles and senior roles they hold. Instead, he says, leaders should remember that they’re in a position to provide useful support, guidance, mentoring and coaching—but only by treating others as their equals.

This is inclusive leadership at its finest. (See Karen Higginbottom’s interesting Forbes article on inclusive leadership here.) Indeed, the vast majority (85%) of business executives agree that inclusive leadership is an effective way to improve performance, as reported by Ernst & Young.

One way to be an inclusive leader and unleash the power of your people is to turn performance reviews into gold-mining operations. Ask individuals to bring their “gold-plated ideas” to the table at review time, and don’t end a review without asking what you can do personally to support and ensure the success of your employees’ ideas. Again, this style of leadership is about embracing the notion that you, despite your title and role, don’t have to have all the ideas and answers all the time. Remember, great leaders are great facilitators. Help your people put their knowledge, experience and ideas to good use and they’ll love you for it.

Inclusive leaders also often practice behavior modeling (showing by personal example the actions and behaviors you want from employees). This isn’t done merely to set an example. Behavior modeling delivers actual business results. As we noted in a prior post, research from Catalyst illustrates that employees who observe selfless behavior in their managers are more likely to report feeling included and engaged in their work and their teams. They also report feeling more innovative, suggesting new product ideas, and going beyond the call of duty, among other benefits.

One of the greatest advantages of inclusive leadership is that it unleashes the intelligence and creativity of your entire team. This means you no longer have to be the sole source of great ideas 24/7. And when you’re no longer trying to shoulder that heavy burden alone, you just might find yourself becoming a happier, more effective leader.