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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: June 2016

By Ian Dodds – The Inclusion Builder

Inclusive Leaders have great interactive effectiveness skills

As regular readers will know I have been developing Inclusive Leaders successfully for many years. Recently, I have been involved with a team, led by Prof Gloria Moss (Bucks Business School), in carrying out research into Inclusive Leadership. This has demonstrated that this form of leadership delivers many performance benefits:

  • Higher performance and productivity;

  • More motivated employees;

  • More innovative and successful problem solving;

  • Increased representation of underrepresented groups, e.g. women and ethnic minorities, in senior management;

  • Better employee retention and enhanced Employer Brand;

  • Greater responsiveness to customers, clients or service users;

  • Improved safety performance;

  • The successful delivery of complex change.

When developing Inclusive Leaders I have coached and trained them in interactive effectiveness. Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland, MIT, concluded from his research on high performing teams that interactive effectiveness was more important than the skill, intelligence and all the other factors combined that go into building a great team (Harvard Business Review April 2012). In The Third Circle by Max Isaac and Anton McBurnie the balance between sound strategy, superior execution and effective interaction is explored, with a focus on the frequently neglected third circle, i.e. interaction.

Hence, there is a widely held view, supported by significant research, that effective interaction is critical for the success of organisations in these challenging times and, also, for building high performing teams. It is, also, a key driver in building inclusive cultures, in which people feel listened to and their ideas and opinions are valued and respected. Professor Boris Groysberg has shown, Harvard Business Review, June 2012, that what he calls ’interactivity’ is critical for people to experience inclusion. He postulates that ”when a spirit of inclusion takes hold, engaged employees can adopt important new roles, creating content themselves and acting as brand ambassadors, thought leaders, and storytellers”.

IDC has developed a powerful solution to building an effective interactions’ capability in developing Inclusive Leaders. For maximum success this is done on a distributed leadership basis from the top of the organisation through to the front line. Often this involves sitting in on their meetings and doing a profile of the interactive behaviours they use during the meetings and noting critical incidents of good and bad interactions. The profile and the critical incidents are then used to coach them. The methodology we have developed for this is unique to IDC and highly practical. It is based on research carried out by Terry Morgan and Neil Rackham which shows that any conversation can be categorised into around 15 different interactive behaviours. These fall into 2 types, which are concerned with ‘advocacy’, e.g. giving information, making suggestions, summarising, etc, and ‘enquiry’, e.g. seeking information, seeking suggestions, checking understanding, developing suggestions, etc. It is the ‘enquiry’ behaviours which Inclusive Leaders almost always need to be coached in to interact more effectively and enhance their capability to enhance innovative problem solving. We have used our interactive approach extensively in successfully training and coaching interactive leaders, at all levels, in all kinds of organisations.

Moreover, we are also highly experienced in training internal trainers and coaches to use our Interactive Effectiveness Behaviours’ Tool for training and coaching Inclusive Leaders. This is achieved through a combination of an upfront workshop and 2 follow up action learning sessions. It is a powerful means of embedding Inclusive Leadership throughout your organisation and gaining the considerable performance benefits of excellence in strategy formulation and execution and the building of an inclusive culture. Please do let me know if you would like more information on how we help our clients with this very powerful intervention.

Dr Ian Dodds, iandodds@iandoddsconsulting.com, www.iandoddsconsulting.com, 29 May 2016

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