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I read an inspiring article written by Bea Boccalandro in the January 2021, HBR issue that was titled Why Your Values Belong at Work,

The essence of this refreshing take on leadership and management of people and organizations is this; it is far easier to get through the work week when work and purpose are closely intertwined. The author, who identifies as female, was a victim of gender discrimination by a male customer who demanded to be served by a male rather than a female.

Our company offered a position to a new graduate. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from the student that interviewed me and our corporation! There were a number of questions around my values and that of the organization. It was refreshing to see how she articulated her values and the meanings she wished to pursue should she take our offer.

Currently, 63% of employees believe it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that they could find a job as good as the one they have. And 51% of currently employed workers say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. Source: Gallup’s Perspective on Designing Your Organization’s Employee Experience.

When she was publicly supported by her male colleague in the moment, she realized her willingness to step aside and allow the customer to be served by her male colleague, was driven not by fear of the customer’s ire, nor a lack of belief in her ability as a woman to get the work done well. She was willing to step aside to ensure the job gets done. That was her motivation for giving in to gender discrimination. Thankfully, between her and her colleague she did not have to give in to gender discrimination.

Inclusive leadership is about ensuring that all voices, no matter who owns the voices, get heard and that the owners of the voices feel heard. Inclusive leadership is a result of ‘Job Purposing’ which is the ‘WHY’ behind what we do. Job purposing is all about the meanings and value we attach to our work, the organization for which we work and the customers whom we serve. Job Purposing runs much more deeply than an organization’s mission and value statements, yet, it is what allows us to look at our work through the critical lens of our values and meanings.

The story in the side bar underscores the critical role inclusive leadership plays in ensuring workplaces are meeting the meanings and purpose of employees. Given current abundance of  available work with not enough job candidates applying, I propose one solution to closing this gap and that is, clear articulation on the part of leaders to show rather than tell, just how they envision including their values into the workplace alongside those of their future hires. This is critical in order for leaders to attract, onboard and retain the best talents.

When leaders show how their values and purpose align with those of their future hires and how they will be included in the purpose of the organization, that is when they will see the deep commitment to getting the job done, as demonstrated in the opening story.


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