Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief (2nd ed.) by Jennifer Brown


Primarily based on her a few years of watching all sorts of people react to the problems surrounding variety, fairness, inclusion, and belonging, Jennifer Brown and her staff developed the “Inclusive Chief Continuum,” a four-stage non-linear journey (Unaware, Conscious, Energetic, and Advocate) that codifies a set of easy-to-remember developmental phases. Like the primary version, the second version describes every of the 4 phases within the continuum and exhibits how leaders can start to assume otherwise, achieve new views, and take significant motion to make an even bigger influence in every stage. The “Inclusive Chief Continuum” is a non-linear journey. You may journey ahead and backward in your stage of understanding and advocacy, however that is OK so long as you keep in mind to remain dedicated to the journey (Brown, 2019; Brown, 2022).

The e book goals to offer a step-by-step information for the non-public and emotional journey we should undertake to create an inclusive office the place everybody can thrive.

The Inclusive Chief Continuum is a pleasant framework and the 4 phases of the Continuum “illustrate how anybody can start to shift their considering, achieve new views, use their voice, and take significant motion to create cultures of belonging” (Brown, 2019, p. 9).

Listed here are the 4 phases:

UNAWARE. Within the unaware stage, you be taught extra in regards to the experiences and challenges that individuals with different identities face. You educate your self in regards to the idea of bias, and start to look at your individual biases and the way they influence your perceptions of the world and the folks round you. You embrace humility and acknowledge what you do not know.

AWARE. Within the Conscious stage, you be taught extra in regards to the idea of privilege and perceive higher that the enjoying area shouldn’t be stage for everybody. You educate your self about your individual identities and people of different folks and the way our identities form the best way we expertise the world round us. As you be taught extra about totally different lived experiences, you develop empathy and are motivated to contribute to the change effort.

ACTIVE. Within the Energetic stage, you place your studying into motion. You’re taking dangers within the pursuits of constructive change and embrace a mindset of failing ahead. You enable your self to be susceptible. You share your story and search out the tales of different folks. You lead and take part in tough and uncomfortable conversations as studying alternatives. You dive deeper into DEI and get personally concerned.

ADVOCATE. Within the Advocate stage, you leverage your energy and affect to propel change. You draw consideration to systemic inequities and get entangled in fixing them. You’re employed in allyship with others to shift methods and behaviors and take motion to disrupt the established order. You exhibit resilience if you encounter resistance and proceed to maneuver ahead even when it means breaking away from previous norms and teams.

Name to Motion

“Our decisions proper now matter greater than ever, for present and future generations. If we do not unpack and course of how we’re displaying up at this second in time, we can be unable to contribute in all of the methods we’re able to—and in all of the methods which are sorely wanted, now greater than ever. As change brokers, all of us have our greatest roles to play—our strongest playing cards. Every of us incorporates change instruments, which embody not simply what we all know, however who we’re and the way we seem. The query we should ask ourselves is “Am I successfully utilizing all the things I’ve been given to create knowledgeable constructive change?” (Brown, 2022, p. 13)

“We have now a lot at stake in making our office is extra equitable and inclusive. We have now the chance to construct a special future, a greater future. All of us are wanted—to chip in, to contribute, to get entangled—not simply on paper, registering our good intentions, however doing the precise work of change, particularly inside ourselves, and following a studying path with self-discipline and dedication” (Brown, 2022, p. 13).

“So I invite and urge you to be taught with humility, join with empathy, share with vulnerability, and lead with braveness and resilience. I imagine that we every have the capability to impact change, particularly if we have been ready on the sidelines. Our sphere of affect is greater than we understand, and we go away a lot on the desk day-after-day after we do not see a job in driving change. Let’s collectively decide to constructing a extra equitable future collectively” (Brown, 2022, p. 13).


Regardless of her 20 years of DEI work, Brown gives no definitions of variety, fairness, and inclusion (DEI) within the e book. Brown describes what inclusive leaders do or are, however she does not outline what she means by “inclusive” or “inclusion.”

For a very good definition of “inclusion,” I flip to Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion for Trainers by Maria Morukian (2022, p. 4, 5):

“Inclusion is the follow of making an atmosphere the place everybody feels equally valued and revered for his or her individuality. Inclusive environments be certain that each individual is ready to take part absolutely in organizational life, and has equal alternatives to leverage their abilities, expertise, and potential.” -Maria Morukian (Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion for Trainers)

“Within the context of the office, inclusion refers to practices, behaviors, and buildings that promote a way of belonging and interdependence of the collective and encourage divergent concepts, acknowledge distinctive expertise and experiences, and worth particular person traits and identities.” -Maria Morukian (Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion for Trainers)

In my view, the power of Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief (2nd ed.) can be its Achilles heel. The e book’s power of being a terrific PRIMER on be an inclusive chief and what that BROADLY entails additionally meant that it’s a very brief e book (solely 113 pages, not counting Acknowledgments & Index). And since it’s so brief, a lot of the contents barely scratch the floor of “HOW” to really be an INCLUSIVE chief.

The “What You Can Do” part on the finish of every chapter, whereas providing some respectable meals for thought, doesn’t delve deeply sufficient into nor does it present sufficient stable, sensible steps on the HOWs to really be an INCLUSIVE chief.

This is an instance. In Chapter 5 (Advocate), Brown wrote (2022, p. 98):

“We won’t count on to be good at this proper out of the gate. We’re going to must apologize when our influence does not match our intent. And that’s par for the course. I believe rather a lot about failing ahead, the agility and adaptability of getting suggestions, adjusting, and attempting once more. It is about getting just a little higher every time. That is about follow, taking it from an mental train to an embodied manner of being. Inclusive management is not a objective or a vacation spot, it is the embracing of a journey, the place expertise are constructed, day-to-day, expertise by expertise.”

I AGREE, however my query is: YES, and WHAT ELSE?

What does apologizing when your influence does not match your intent LOOK & SOUND like? That is completely KEY as a result of DEI work is HARD. We CANNOT present a fast define and say that is the “how.” We should practice our leaders, utilizing real-life STORIES, WORDS, and even SCRIPTS for example what we imply.

The company leaders (from front-line leaders to senior vice presidents) I’ve labored with ALWAYS search for a sensible, step-by-step course of and oftentimes even a “script” (i.e., what do I say).

Brown wrote that, “It may be damaging to sign good intentions, after which not observe via with significant motion” (2022, p. 93).

EXACTLY, which is why I preserve urgent for the HOW.

Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief (2nd ed.) does NOT provide help to arrange a DEI program. In Chapter 4 (Energetic), Brown talked in regards to the significance of supporting and championing DEI efforts, however she doesn’t clarify HOW precisely to do that. She wrote with the ASSUMPTION & EXPECTATION that there are already DEI efforts and even a DEI program in place.

For instance, Brown wrote (2022): “Be taught extra about your group’s DEI program and get actively concerned indirectly. In case your group does not have a DEI program, work to get one began” (p. 81).

That was below “What You Can Do” on the finish of Chapter 4 (Energetic). That is it. There are not any detailed steps to clarify all of the HOW steps — reminiscent of HOW do I begin a DEI program, what are the issues I have to do, who do I must be concerned, what actions do I have to provoke, and many others.?

Brown wrote (2022, p. 26): “This e book lays out a step-by-step course of to turning into a extra inclusive chief . . .” ACTUALLY, it does not. I might argue that the e book lays out a step-by-step course of to THINKING ABOUT turning into a extra inclusive chief.

It might need been higher and extra correct to title the e book Tips on how to Begin on the Journey to Suppose Like an Inclusive Chief, quite than Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief.

There are nice insights (e.g., distinguishing between fairness & equality) and useful mental workouts in Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief (2nd ed.). Total, the e book is an effective INTRODUCTION on THINK ABOUT STARTING a DEI journey.

HOWEVER, for leaders who really wish to grow to be inclusive and need to know the HOWs to take action, Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief (2nd ed.) can be a disappointment as a result of it skimps on the main points and does not delve into the tough work that is required of DEI.

For those who actually wish to be an inclusive chief, then you definately can’t skip out on the lengthy and tough journey and laborious work that it’s going to take to get there. As Brown acknowledged, “Your private journey towards turning into a extra inclusive chief will span a few years and contain tough but rewarding work” (2022, p. 80).

In my view, we can’t focus on being an inclusive chief with out first understanding and studying one among its most elementary and foundational constructing blocks — interact in inclusive conversations. For a superb information on this, I refer the reader to the e book, Inclusive Conversations: Fostering Fairness, Empathy, and Belonging throughout Variations (2020) by Mary-Frances Winters.

“Studying to have interaction in inclusive conversations is crucial for organizations that wish to foster variety, fairness, and belonging” (Winters, 2020, p. 16).

To begin you in your journey, Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief (2nd ed.) gives a really brief overview about start to shift your excited about being extra inclusive.

Nevertheless, to start the precise work after greedy what it means to assume extra like an inclusive chief, I extremely suggest the e book, Inclusion Revolution: The Important Information to Dismantling Racial Inequity within the Office by Daisy Auger-Domínguez.

This is a unbelievable instance of sharing the HOWs by Daisy Auger-Domínguez.

“If we proceed to make the identical organizational errors of solely hiring, listening to, and advancing folks we all know and we really feel comfy with, we threat alienating not simply our present staff however our future one as properly” (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 108).

The superb suggestions under come immediately from Auger-Domínguez’s e book, Inclusion Revolution: The Important Information to Dismantling Racial Inequity within the Office (p. 108-109):

  • Regularly look at bias all through the hiring course of (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 108).

  • Require inclusive interviewing coaching for all. Be certain that those that make hiring choices—from screening to ultimate choices—are outfitted to objectively consider a candidate’s expertise, data, and potential to succeed (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 108).

  • Standardize the interviewing processes to maintain assessments honest and balanced. Have customary inquiries to ask and a scorecard for all interviewers to make use of for evaluation (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 108-109).

  • Designate a range standards verify. Have an HR consultant or a member of the staff be chargeable for ensuring evaluators stay centered on the standards for the function (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 109).

  • Look ahead to affinity bias or the horn impact throughout interviews. That’s if you both join with somebody as a result of they went to your school or additionally like to play basketball, or when one thing dangerous in regards to the candidate grabs your consideration and you may’t transfer past it. You can’t let these elements information your ultimate impression. As a substitute, suss out why the candidate’s expertise or qualities would add to your group (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 109).

  • Shift your focus from tradition match to tradition add when evaluating candidates. Success is bringing somebody who’s additive to your tradition. Intention for tradition add by assessing whether or not a candidate enhances your tradition (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 109).

  • Ask higher interview questions. Ask open-ended behavioral and hypothetical questions to know a candidate’s potential, separate from his or her background. Discuss how they problem-solve and construct relationships (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 109).

  • Standardize the way you debrief and determine. That is if you carry everybody collectively to check notes and decide if the candidate ought to transfer ahead. Be able to push again on suggestions with thought-provoking questions (e.g., Why did you are feeling that manner?).” (Auger-Domínguez, 2022, p. 109).

Lastly, it is also noteworthy to level out that though some DEI leaders do have a “formal function” to symbolize DEI issues for his or her group, many (specifically, ladies of colour in these roles) “are often doing work past what they have been employed to do” (Purushothaman, 2022, p. 96) and “many ladies in these roles really feel like corporations wish to do the proper factor however don’t have the buildings, processes, or price range to help it. Many could have the title and wage however not the employees or price range, so to succeed in success they have to do a variety of additional, unpaid work” (Purushothaman, 2022, p. 96).

As Deepa Purushothaman aptly shared in her e book (one other DEI e book I extremely suggest), The First, The Few, The Solely: How Ladies of Colour Can Redefine Energy in Company America (2022, p. 97): “I do know ladies who’ve lately accepted these roles (inclusion leaders in formally paid roles) solely to be sadly disillusioned a number of months in as a result of they don’t have the help to make the adjustments that must be made. These ladies have excessive ranges of burnout, they usually really feel strongly that what was promised to them once they accepted the function shouldn’t be what the corporate offered them as soon as they have been within the seat.”

Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.

Organizational & Management Growth Chief


Auger-Domínguez, D. (2022). Inclusion Revolution: The Important Information to Dismantling Racial Inequity within the Office. Seal Press.

Brown, J. (2019). Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Brown, J. (2022). Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief (2nd ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Morukian, M. (2022). Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion for Trainers: Fostering DEI within the Office. ATD Press.

Purushothaman, D. (2022). The First, The Few, The Solely: How Ladies of Colour Can Redefine Energy in Company America. Harper Enterprise.

Winters, M-F. (2020). Inclusive Conversations: Fostering Fairness, Empathy, and Belonging throughout Variations. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Disclosure: I acquired a paperback copy of Tips on how to Be an Inclusive Chief (2nd ed.) as a complimentary present in alternate for an trustworthy and thorough evaluate.

#BookReview #DEI #DiversityEquityInclusion #Variety #Inclusion

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