Amplifying Perspectives: The Untapped Value of Empowering Every Employee’s Voice

The Untapped Value of Empowering Every Employee’s Voice

“This thought-leadership article by Dori was originally written and posted on the Inclusive Leadership Network.

Are we missing valuable perspectives by solely relying on leadership for problem-solving and decision-making? Are we leaving great perspectives on the table when we are not looking beyond the leadership level? 

Leaders are in place as trusted advisors.  They were selected for their expertise, communication style, industry experience, vision, and empathy.  It makes sense that when we are seeking guidance or perspective, we naturally turn to our leaders for answers.  However, these voices are not the only ones that should be considered when making organizational decisions.  Consider the impact we can have on our staff and our organization if inclusivity at all levels of the organization is valued and practiced.

According to a recent study done on defining executive presence (EP), The New Rules of Executive Presence (hbr.org), by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, there was a major shift from 2012 to 2022 in defining executive presence. The studies showed that businesses have seen an important shift in operational inclusion and the measure of executive presence.  “Confidence and decisiveness have not gone out of style; those are still the most sought-after traits contributing to gravitas, which accounts for the lion’s share of EP. However, inclusiveness, in all its manifestations—respecting others, listening to learn, and telegraphing authenticity—has shot onto the list of the most-valued components of all three dimensions of EP. That change reflects the new weight of diversity, equity, and inclusion in business strategy.”

I’ve seen this practice and its positive results in many types of organizations.  I recently visited a military research and development facility that provides the Army with innovative science and technology solutions to optimize the performance of its soldiers. Our tour brought us to an area where clothing and protective equipment were prototyped for soldiers in the field. The head of this department shared that many ideas come from the challenges shared by the field soldiers. This caught my attention because, having served in the Army, I understood the dynamics of the rank structure.  When this civilian specifically mentioned field soldiers, I knew he was referring to feedback from the lower ranks as well.  One example shared on the tour was the development of a new rucksack that held crucial communication equipment.  The first prototype didn’t allow sufficient ventilation for the batteries, causing them to overheat and malfunction. Soldiers reported these issues, and the information was communicated up the ladder and onto the R&D facility, allowing for a new design of a rucksack. This process of communication up through the ranks within the military has been integral to many of the important developments made to give the U.S. military advantages in the field. Some of which may be lifesaving. 

Why Workplace Inclusivity Matters

While most of us do not work in life-or-death situations, having an inclusive culture can have a huge impact on the success of any business. In my own experience as a leader in a managed IT services (MSP) firm, inclusivity was an important key to our success! Though I relied heavily on the strength of my leadership team, everyone on the team had a voice, and everyone’s voice was valued. There were often small tactics that came from junior team members that had a huge impact. For example, a junior-level support person who was responsible for maintaining our key documents found that we were struggling to keep documents organized, resulting in people spending too much time searching for documents. Our junior team member suggested a new folder structure that allowed a much more systematic approach to maintaining files. Once implemented, not only did it save us an inordinate amount of time accessing key documents, but when we onboarded new personnel, it allowed for more streamlined training. The suggestion of our junior teammate came out of his day-to-day knowledge of the business, and while not a huge shift in our strategy, it did make a great impact on the efficiency of our team. Encouraging contributions from every employee is a great way to gain perspective at all levels of an organization and make impactful decisions. In addition to helping organizations have a competitive edge, valuing inclusion throughout the organization perpetuates a culture of respect and value and contributes to increased employee retention.

How To Uncover Untapped Team Value

Being inclusive requires being authentic and genuinely caring about what all people think. However, successfully empowering all voices in an organization requires a systematic approach as well. Here are some processes to include in your journey to uncover the untapped value of every employee:

  • Make Inclusion of ideas part of your core values. Speak about it at every Town Hall or all-staff meeting so that it becomes engrained in the mindset of the organization
  • Coach and mentor managers and junior leaders on the value of inclusivity and ask them to develop their own strategies and tactics for empowering their team
  • Add discussions about challenges to the agenda of 1:1 meetings and team meetings
  • Develop a recognition program for suggestions that lead to measurable success in the organization
  • Speak often and proudly of the suggestions that had a positive impact on the organization

Not all ideas will work or be productive, but listening and understanding the challenges at all levels within the organization will allow leaders and organizations to improve continually. Valuing ideas at all levels of the organization will also help build loyalty and long-term benefits, such as fostering a positive workplace culture, boosting morale, and creating a legacy of leadership.

Read Also: What Do MSPs Really Need for Growth, What are the Challenges, How can Call To Action LLC help?

About the Author:

Dori Spade: MSP Advisor

Dori Spade is a 17-year veteran of the IT managed services (MSP) industry. During her tenure, she successfully led turnaround efforts for three MSPs, increasing client retention and growth, attracting great talent, and building thriving teams. 

Known amongst her peers as a leader, mentor, and coach, Dori has turned her passion for success into helping others in the MSP and Channel Partner industry find their competitive edge and achieve their goals.

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