How to Cultivate an Inclusive and Cooperative Environment

diverse and inclusive community

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Today community diversity is more relevant than ever. Organizations that encourage employee contribution create a cooperative and inclusive environment.

By celebrating the varied backgrounds of your team, everyone feels valued. They want to contribute more. With diversity your board members flourish sharing their skills and ideas. As a result, your community reaps the benefits. You also increase retention according to SHRM/Economist Intelligence Unit research.

The question is, how do you create a more productive and cooperative environment? If your board of directors lacks the cooperative spirit, here’s how you can use diversity and inclusion to encourage collaboration.

Embrace the Traits of Inclusive Leaders

According to Harvard Business Review, there are six traits inclusive leaders share:

  1. Visible commitment: They make inclusion a personal priority. They hold others accountable for unacceptable actions.
  2. Humility: They make it easy for others to contribute through their own modesty.
  3. Awareness of bias: They understand their own personal blind spots and a flawed system. They work to overcome and improve them.
  4. Curiosity about others: They are open minded listeners who remain empathetic.
  5. Cultural intelligence: They respect other cultures and adapt their behaviour as required.
  6. Effective collaboration: They place priority on creating a cohesive team. They empower others. They have respect for diverse ideas and provide a safe environment.

These traits are often inherent, but can also be nurtured and learned.

Informed Leaders Promote an Inclusive Community

Your board of directors hold the key to creating a culture of inclusion and cooperation. Through their example, each member of the team feels more welcome and nurtured. Training allows them to understand the role inclusion plays in meeting community goals. Inclusion means your directors leave their unconscious biases behind. They learn to avoid judging others based on race, gender or qualities that don’t suit their ideals. By doing so, they learn to use active listening and to ask for people’s input.

Learning opportunities present themselves at meetings, in everyday interactions and performance reviews. Inclusion goes beyond race and gender. It includes everything from parenting to workers with disabilities. Training ensures leaders remain accountable for the environment and culture they create.

Create an Inclusive Community Policy

Training requires back-up in the form of inclusivity policies. Some important inclusive recommendations include:
• Board members must listen to community members, value opinions, and avoid unconscious biases.
• Make it clear inclusivity is a core competency for board members.
• Create a cooperative environment where everyone feels engaged.
• Provide support and resources for groups who might feel underrepresented.
• Create an environment where everyone feels safe voicing opinions and concerns.
• Create a mission statement noting your culture with a focus on inclusivity.
Ensure board members practice inclusivity in their daily interactions. When policies are not followed, take steps right away to make it clear this is unacceptable.

Inclusive Communities Celebrate Diversity

To promote diversity you must celebrate diversity. Develop opportunities so everyone can learn more about each other’s backgrounds. A weekly “cultural cuisine” lunch is an excellent starting point. Sharing food is one of the best ways for people to communicate and engage.

Provide support for diversity. Consider adding a prayer room, a child-friendly area for parents, or gender-neutral bathrooms. Diversity and inclusion provide many benefits according to a Cloverpop study. The study shows diversity improved decision-making 87 percent of the time. As well, inclusion boosted decision results 60 percent of the time.

An Inclusive Community Practices Active Listening

Conduct regular town hall-style meetings to improve team communication. People will see you mean business when it comes to hearing their opinions and concerns. Allow topic suggestions to hear everyone’s concerns. You can also include a free-form question/comment session at the end of the meeting. Table issues needing special attention for discussion at a specific time and date. This way you avoid unresolved issues. You can also conduct surveys to learn pain points. Use the pain points as speaking opportunities at the next board meeting.

Hold Quality Meetings to Promote an Inclusive Community

The most relevant information to your community comes from team members/owners. Ensure you make the most of your meetings with these tips:
• Use an agenda: Share the agenda so people have time to consider related questions or concerns.
• Provide attendance options: An inclusive community makes it easy for everyone to join. Use technology to create virtual meeting opportunities. You can also allow people to submit questions via email, phone or snail mail. Then ensure they receive a personal note with answers and solutions.
• Accommodate schedules: Rotate meeting times to ensure schedules are fair for everyone.
• Reward contributions: Recognize individuals for their valuable contributions. Mention their ideas and tasks completed that help the community achieve its goals.
• Remain objective: Avoid talking down to people of different ages, sexes, or races.
• Demand respectful behaviour: Promote civil debating. Make it clear disrespectful, discourteous, and abusive behaviour is not tolerated.
By following these steps you create a more cooperative, inclusive community.

Measure Inclusive Community Progress

An inclusive community doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and change to ensure you are meeting your board and community goals. Some benchmarks to measure might include:
• The frequency of complaints such as discrimination, misogyny, poor follow-up, biased votes, preferential treatment, etc.
• The frequency of inclusivity discrepancies.
• Performance in relation to your inclusivity policies and guidelines.
• Diversity when opportunities for new members arise.
• The number of members or volunteers who speak the diverse languages of your community.

You can measure your progress based on your own community goals and objectives. Community input provides logical measurements and milestones that will help meet expectations.

An inclusive culture helps leverage the diversity of your team. Diversity helps improve the decision-making process, creating a more cooperative environment. Through cooperation, you adopt changes to better reflect the community.

Using these tips will help you bring out the best in your board of directors. The property management experts at CPO can help develop a more cooperative environment. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services.

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