Who amongst us remembers the Hasbro game Operation? The game’s goal was to operate to remove problem spots to ensure complete patient recovery. Examinations and operations are productive activities to help us as managers identify problem areas that need repairing. If we experience bumpy grounds when steering our teams, we must proactively investigate how we can create smoother sailing. An inclusive manager proactively invests time in nurturing their reporting relationships. To build win-win relationships with our direct reports, we as inclusive managers must do the following:


We must design relationships that work for us and our direct reports. In the design, run through what-if scenarios to align on handling different situations. An example of a what-if scenario is handling external stressors that impact work productivity. Roe vs. WadeGun Issues, and Race concerns are prime examples. Managers who are investing the time to check in and support employees will have favorable relationship currency through these proactive actions. The key is to ensure active listening and follow through on employee cues on success metrics. Additionally, gathering available resources at our fingertips is equally prudent for these conversations. Then, when appropriate, we can extend an offering.


Trust is necessary for relationships to flourish. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs highlights safety and belonging among critical needs for humans. As such, there should be dedicated focus and accountability for these needs. So how can we as managers build trust with our reports and teams?

  1. Provide clarity around commitments. We must be clear on what we are willing to do. How boldly will we walk on this quest to promote genuine inclusion?
  2. As managers, we should prioritize discussions around feedback frequency and delivery. Doing so allows our employees to highlight when course correcting is necessary and vice versa.
  3. We must also champion and sponsor our direct reports. That means taking extra measures to validate input received (especially if there’s a potential for bias in the equation) and providing transparency over processes like promotions and rewards.
  4. When we as managers demonstrate consistent behaviors, we signal that the environment is safe and inclusion is a welcomed ingredient for our teams. Vulnerability and empathy are skills that are also necessary for success in this area.


Diversifying the environment is an expectation for an inclusive manager. Doing the work to diversify the workplace and ensuring diverse perspectives are welcomed signals to the team that a manager means business about creating an inclusive workplace culture. As managers, we must be willing to go through education to learn fruitful methods that yield results for a more diverse team. Diversity expands beyond the team, so we should evaluate multiple touchpoints to determine opportunities for more diversification in processes and practices. So, for example, leveraging a diverse vendor will count towards embracing and integrating diversity.


Knowing the difference between equity and equality is essential for us as inclusive managers. We must unlearn collective approaches using standard language that can signal exclusion. An example is parroting the message that this is how we handle [said tasks] for all employees. Instead, an inclusive manager observes non-verbal cues to assess how the message lands and adapts accordingly. Being inflexible in exploring and coming up with creative solutions will ding the manager and set them back in fostering inclusive relationships with team members. So, a first step is to engage in conversations to build awareness of gaps caused by equity vs. equality disconnect.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/?sh=158242ba2254