How would you answer this: “My manager ensures that I feel heard and understood” Agree, disagree or undecided? Here’s another question: “My manager shows an awareness of their personal blind spots or biases”. Agree, disagree or undecided? According to recent research by The Myers-Briggs Company, the good news is that almost two-thirds (65%) of people agree with the first statement and almost half (47%) with the second. The bad news? A significant number disagree. 

So why is this important? Well, these questions were part of a survey into people’s perceptions of inclusive leadership, how included by their manager they felt themselves to be. And the research showed that individuals who felt more included had significantly higher levels of well-being at work, experiencing fewer negative emotions and more positive emotions. 

An inclusive manager can improve your overall work life

According to the research, those who felt included  were more likely to:

  • Have supportive and caring work relationships
  • Be engaged with and find meaning in their work
  • Feel they were accomplishing something  

They were also less likely to engage in counterproductive behaviors such as:

  • Focusing on the negative aspects of a work situation
  • Speaking with people outside their organization about the negative aspects of their job 

So, if you are going to feel happy at work, and be productive, it really helps if your manager makes the effort to be inclusive.

How inclusive is your manager? Try this questionnaire

To find out how inclusive you feel your own manager is, try answering these eight questions. 

My manager:

  • Ensures that I feel heard and understood
  • Focuses on what I do right, not on what I do wrong
  • Prioritizes diversity and inclusion
  • Sees mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth
  • Seeks out other people’s perspectives, including mine
  • Shares their awareness of their personal blind spots and biases
  • Shows commitment to helping the team collaborate and be included
  • Shows respect for differences and adapts as required

For each question, score 1 if you disagree, 2 if you aren’t sure, and 3 if you agree. Then add up your total score. 

If you scored 24You’ve given your manager full marks on all the questions. Are they perfect, or is there any area where they could improve?
If you scored 21 to 23You’ve rated your manager as better than two-thirds of all managers. There may be just one area where they could improve. Look back at your answers.
If you scored 18 to 20Your manager is typical in terms of their inclusive behaviors. There may be a couple of areas where they could improve.
If you scored 15 to 17You see your manager as less inclusive than most people do, and there may be several areas where they fall short. Look back at your answers. Is there any one area that you would like them to concentrate on? Perhaps remind them that the more included you feel, the better you are likely to do your job.
If you scored 8 to 14You see your manager as much less inclusive than most people do. You may need to think carefully about how you can improve the situation.

Your non-inclusive manager may think they’re inclusive

However you have scored your manager, there is one catch. The research also showed that leaders see themselves as behaving in a more inclusive way than they think their own manager does, and that they tend to overestimate how inclusive they really are. This is something that needs to be addressed in leadership training programs. But when you talk to your manager, just remember that they may feel that they are being inclusive even when they are not. That’s when the specific answers to those questions might come in useful…