Innovation has been the foundation of a strong company. The values of an organization shift towards inclusive leadership, which is a new form of leadership where companies employ diverse teams to make better decisions.
The problem is that only some organizations are as inclusive as you may think. One out of four employees feels they are outside the workplace, which means they cannot fully commit to working.
Here is a quick guide that can help you in better understanding about how inclusive leadership works.
- Inclusive Leadership Definition
- Why Is Inclusive Leadership Important?
- 6 Cs Of Inclusive Leadership
- Why Is Inclusive Leadership Popular Now?
- Benefits Of Inclusive Leadership
- Tips To Boast Inclusive Leadership At The Workplace
- Communicate Frequently And Openly.
- Critique Constructively
- Celebrate Diversity
- Creation Of A Conducive Environment
- Be Precise In Your Decision-Making Skills
- Leading By Example
- Acts Of Inclusive Leadership
- Develops Your Self-Awareness
- Enhances Social Awareness
- Listen To Understand
- Showcase Blind Spots
- Lead With A Continuous Vulnerability
- Develop Connections
- Investing resources in inclusionary leadership
- How An Inclusive Leader Helps An Organization
- How Can The Hr Department In An Organization Develop Inclusive Leaders?
- How Inclusive Leadership Helps To Enhance Employee Engagement And Motivation At The Workplace?
Inclusive Leadership Definition
The ability to effectively manage a diverse group of people while honoring their individuality in a sympathetic, bias-free way is known as inclusive leadership.
In retrospect, it is a genuine leadership style that forbids all forms of prejudice. The workers’ experience is worth for their own contributions.
Why Is Inclusive Leadership Important?
We live in a diverse business world. There is not only variability in our workforce but also diversity in the customers we want to attract and the messages we share across various platforms.
An inclusive leader adapts to diverse scenarios and approaches various perspectives with an open and non-judgmental mindset. When done right, the benefits are numerous and collectively lead to better decisions.
With businesses increasingly optimizing their diversification and inclusion activities, inclusive leadership has become more relevant than ever. Inclusive leaders are expected to set the right tone in an organization.
The Importance Of Inclusion In Teams
A high-performing team is not a coincidence. They result from strong recruitment, staffing, and training strategies that focus on creating an all-inclusive, high-performance culture.
There is a definite reason why inclusion and diversity are paired together. One cannot yield results without the support of the other, just as diversity cannot exist without inclusivity.
An example is that a diverse employee will only provide a competitive advantage if they feel respected, valued, and heard in an organization.
6 Cs Of Inclusive Leadership
The 6 Cs of inclusive leadership are as follows:
Leaders need to communicate with people from all walks of life.
This means that a leader needs to use language that everyone can understand and be respectful of the various communication styles and different cultures.
Leaders need to work with people from different walks of life. This means being open-minded to different ideas, perspectives, and ways of looking at life.
Creative Problem Solving
Leaders have to solve problems in a creative manner that involves everyone. This means you need to think outside the box and devise creative solutions involving everyone.
Leaders need to be committed to inclusion. This makes a conscious effort to seek out diverse perspectives, as everyone is part of the decision-making process.
When it comes to inclusion, leaders need to display courage. This means that you need to stand up for what is right even when it is not popular.
Leaders need to adopt a sensitive attitude and be aware of the various cultures. This means understanding and respecting the various cultures, traditions, and behaviors.
Why Is Inclusive Leadership Popular Now?
Inclusion is important for leaders, just as it is important to the world that we live in. The ongoing conflict in the social work environment has shed light on the inequalities that plague modern-day society.
It is not only the individuals who need to pay attention, as the companies need to be included.
The ability to thrive in the new environment will serve as a catalyst for change and turn out to be an important factor in leaving behind the competition.
Though progress towards inclusivity may be relatively slow, diverse companies still need to be exclusive.
Benefits Of Inclusive Leadership
Here are some of the benefits that you should know :
Growth Of Mutual Trust And Respect
When you work in a team, you are part of the culture fully embracing inclusive leadership. There is a strong likelihood that others will value and respect your opinions.
Your views on matters could be decisive to the direction of your team and company being heard and considered.
This is going to provide inclusive leaders with a team that has a high level of morale and self-satisfaction. In addition, it provides a definite reason to care about the company’s vision.
Boasts Teamwork And Enhances Relationships
Inclusive leadership is a great way to amplify individual choices within a team, helping you make informed decisions.
The leadership style encourages the voices to collaborate and work together to discuss ideas.
It enhances open communication among people and forms conversations within a team that go a long way toward fulfilling an organization’s long-term and short-term goals.
Apart from that, it goes on to add something palpable to the atmosphere where you are working.
Fosters Innovation And Creativity
It is truly powerful when people tend to bounce off each other. Ideas at a basic or an advanced level have tremendous potential when it is shared with others.
They can be pushed or altered based on the perspective of others.This is a vibrant process, and with inclusive leadership, it is something that will become regular. In traditional leadership, leaders formulate ideas and choose a path.
But as an inclusive leader, you are able to introduce more when it comes to the decision-making process. Each member of your team will have varying levels of knowledge.
The Behavioral Traits Of Inclusive Leadership
Diversity emerges in various forms: racial and cultural background, gender, age, and life experiences.
While it requires commitment and effort, an inclusive and thoughtful approach can bring about new opportunities for growth for your clients.
Below are a few principles of inclusive leadership for firms that fully want to leverage their employees’ diverse thinking and experiences.
Commit To Inclusivity.
Forming a culture and an inclusive team does not happen by accident and requires commitment.
An inclusive leader proactively makes time for new ideas and different voices. A diverse team may lead to quality outcomes.
They set the tone by communicating their philosophy to the team and helping them navigate their different strengths and perspectives.
Take Stock Of Your Own Prejudices.
It’s challenging to recognize your own blind spots. Inclusive leaders are fully aware that they can have their own biases, which can hamper their judgment.
But to counter the biases, they may seek input from others to clarify their thinking before they make decisions.
They also take into consideration whether the decisions taken by employees are progressive-driven or impactful.
The creation of an inclusive environment requires change, which may be uncomfortable. An inclusive leader demonstrates encouragement to help employees navigate during times of change.
This courage can be showcased in several ways, including not taking a backseat when it comes to challenges or taking a fresh look when it comes to performing established tasks.
It also means that you may admit that you do not have sufficient answers and create a safe environment for others to thrive.
As the industry continues to evolve, the voice of every individual must be heard to achieve success.
Developing an environment where individuals feel safe sharing their ideas or thoughts is important.
Our life experiences, cultural differences, and personalities change our perspective. An inclusive leader is aware of these alterations.
Even when it’s not awkward, they acknowledge differences in experiences and ask open-ended questions.
They are reminded that they only sometimes need to think in that way to have a collaborative team because they know that being genuine is the best course of action in any circumstance.
Curious people are empathetic and open-minded, two attributes of an inclusive leader. They demonstrate curiosity by asking questions and listening without judgment, indicating to employees that they value their perspectives.
Tips To Boast Inclusive Leadership At The Workplace
In order to become a better inclusive leader, you need to be aware of exactly what that means. Inclusiveness is all about creating an environment where everyone is valued and respected. This includes customers, employees, and their stakeholders.
Numerous things can be done to foster an inclusive environment at your workplace. There are a few things to keep in mind.
Communicate Frequently And Openly.
As a leader, you need to be honest with your team. This means communicating regularly about your expectations and the challenges or changes that the company is facing.
It is vital to give employees opportunities to share their ideas and give feedback.
It is preferable to give feedback to employees in a positive and helpful way. This entails refraining from making someone feel awful with criticism.
Instead, concentrate on the current problem and make recommendations for improving it.
Diversity should be celebrated in the workplace. This means creating an environment where the employees are comfortable being themselves and sharing their unique perspectives. It also means valuing different views and suggestions, even if they are not in line with your own.
Creation Of A Conducive Environment
A conducive environment is one where employees feel comfortable taking risks and trying out new things. It means the creation of an environment where you have an opportunity to learn and not a reason to be punitive.
This also means providing support and resources to the employees when they need them the most.
Be Precise In Your Decision-Making Skills
An inclusive leader makes decisions while considering the needs of all employees. This means evaluating different perspectives or opinions and giving opportunity for the employees the to share their opinion.
It also means being open to change and modifying your plans if doing so would be beneficial for your team.
Leading By Example
As a leader, you set the tone for your team. This means modeling inclusive behavior and treating everyone with respect.
It would also mean being aware of your own bias and taking steps to avoid it having an impact on your decision-making skills.
Acts Of Inclusive Leadership
When you are starting out as a leader for the entire organization, engaging in these intentional acts of inclusion and developing leadership competencies will allow you to reinvent relationships and the organization.
Develops Your Self-Awareness
As the first act of inclusion, build a solid foundation of personal understanding. Sometimes it means asking for feedback, admitting failures or mistakes, and reflecting on your background and social identity.
You need to have high self-awareness and understand your strengths, biases, and weaknesses. If you are comfortable with yourself, the confidence will reverberate through all acts of inclusive leadership.
Enhances Social Awareness
From the quality of self-awareness emerges the quality of social awareness, which is part of our emotional intelligence.
Social awareness is all about our relationship with other people. The moment people lack social awareness, they have difficulty communicating.
Since you pay attention to things happening around you, a culture of inclusion develops. An example is when a new person is hired, show them the place and take time to know them better.
Listen To Understand
When used correctly, listening is an important tool that helps you understand three things: feelings, facts, and values.
As a leader, you have the ability to practice listening in your everyday conversations.
The moment you listen to understand, you go beyond active listening and have an accurate picture of the team’s challenges.
You are well-equipped to deal with conflicts as you increase the efficiency of operations due to better communications.
Showcase Blind Spots
In our daily work lives, the interactions with people and the exposure to information within diverse teams expose us to reinvention.
The senior leaders in an organization need to be aware that an organization is not a level playing field.
You are well-equipped to take meaningful action once you assess your personal weaknesses or knowledge gaps within your organization. This makes opportunities accessible for your employees.
Lead With A Continuous Vulnerability
Inclusive leaders lead with continuous vulnerability.
In other words, they position themselves in areas where they are weak, and they do this in a courteous manner. They seek and input questions.
What is the purpose of developing connections? A connection is a link that helps people encourage, strengthen, and enhance their bond.
If you develop social connections, you will likely have the necessary time.
From an organizational perspective, diverse social networks are important since they invite information from different sources.
Just as you want your portfolio to be diversified, you want your social connections to be diversified.
Investing resources in inclusionary leadership
Forward-thinking organizations are aware of the benefits of inclusive leadership.
There are diverse teams that collaborate together and are expected to provide a viable return in terms of employee satisfaction and commitment.
Any type of investment that you make in inclusive leadership holds relevance.
The steps may include strategic initiatives, diversifying networks, and performance management practices.
Inclusive leaders are critical for the success of a company.
How An Inclusive Leader Helps An Organization
Inclusivity does not merely indicate that it fosters good feelings. It needs to have a measurable impact on your organization regarding tangible results.
Some of the unexpected benefits of inclusive leadership for an organization are as follows:
Every team member has many skills, ideas, and experiences that they bring to work daily. But if you have not built an inclusive environment, they cannot share those ideas, and your organization is missing out on something beneficial.
Once you create an inclusive environment, employees are expected to feel psychological safety, allowing them to express their opinions freely. These opinions lead to new ideas, creating an entirely new realm of innovation and creativity.
When employees believe they are included and the organization is committed to diversity, better performance for innovation and response to customer needs is felt.
Once the question of gender diversity arises, companies with 30 percent more female executives would like to outperform companies with less exclusive gender diversity.
Welcoming And A Positive Culture
When leaders demonstrate and prioritize inclusivity, it encourages the team members to do the same.
The leaders also make it clear that discrimination and bias do not have any place in their organization. They resort to positive enforcement to encourage participation.
An Increase In Talent
For the majority of job seekers, a diverse workforce is an important factor in evaluating companies and job offers.
It is clear that the modern-day workforce looks way beyond the routine paycheck, as they want to join an inclusive workplace that believes in equality.
Staff Turnover Reduces
People want representation on the leadership team of their organization. It inspires them, as they feel that they too can reach higher ranks in an organization.
This also showcases the fact that success will not be restricted to gender, race, age, or any other protected characteristics.
When employees feel they are not respected or valued, they are quick to leave. It happens to be the case more with an underrepresented community.
How Can The Hr Department In An Organization Develop Inclusive Leaders?
Becoming an inclusive leader is a skill that is made stronger with input from the HR team. Below are a few ways you can develop inclusive leadership at your workplace.
- Identifying areas of improvement: First, you need to check with your employees on how leaders can improve their inclusive skills. The employees should be able to share their opinions or thoughts with a diverse
- Developing personalized training courses: with the information obtained, you can develop different training courses that can be personalized according to your organization’s needs.
- Advocate for a diversity and inclusion board- your organization, may benefit if they establish a board of professionals who help you shaping in diversity and inclusive efforts. The board needs to be composed of diverse people from varied backgrounds and expertise.
How Inclusive Leadership Helps To Enhance Employee Engagement And Motivation At The Workplace?
Inclusive leadership is no longer an option for modern-day organizations. It can be rated to be an essential employee engagement tool that brings about a degree of efficiency to your team.
If you are excited to implement inclusive leadership at your workplace, then these steps will help increase employee engagement and productivity.
Innovative Work Approaches
An inclusive leader thrives on innovation. There is no hesitation on their end to use new technologies or methods when they need to interact with new members.
The leaders are always on the lookout for viable opportunities to build trustworthy relationships among their team members. Hence, an inclusive leader adopts different approaches to drive employee engagement.
Diversity Is Brought To The Leadership Modules.
Employees who are well-connected with senior leadership will show more productivity and efficiency. To set up inclusive leadership, you need to bring diversity to your workforce.
There is a need to appoint a relatable leader. Employees are likely to feel positive with a leader with whom they can share something. The best strategy is to employ an inclusive leader within your team.
Build Trust Among The Team Members.
Apart from earning the trust of the team members, an inclusive leader improves coordination and trust among the team members. If the team is not aligned, it would be difficult to include them in your decision-making process.
Therefore, inclusive leaders have to undertake trust-building activities in their organizations. You may use virtual team-building exercises to establish a collaborative work environment even if your team works remotely.
Communication is the backbone of any effective leadership style. A leader needs to implement a dual communication structure where they can receive feedback from their team members and reciprocate it to them.
The employees need to build an open communication channel based on various parameters. An example is that they can use an employee handbook, which is an effective form of communication and outlines underlying values.
Focus On The Needs Of Individual Employees.
Every employee is different, and so are the needs and aspirations of each of them. Some of them may look for a positive work environment when they are applying for a job.
So, leaders need to understand the requirements of individual employees so that they can develop a progressive work environment.
With an employee engagement survey, they can understand the needs of individual employees.
Rise Above The Competition
An inclusive leader should eliminate the competition that arises among their teams. They need to create a coordinated and collaborative environment where the team members do not feel jealous if their subordinates succeed.
It helps the team members work efficiently.These leaders also work on the negative feelings and conflicts that arise within a team.
They are bound to resolve the team issues so that a positive and vibrant environment exists at the place of work.
What are the obstacles to inclusive leadership?
-Everyone has a bias. Bias is often unconscious, but learning how to become aware of it is a key basis of inclusive leadership.
-Leaders overestimate how inclusive they can become.
-Organizational structure can be a barrier.
-Leaders lack inclusive skills.
Do you think inclusive leadership can be learned?
Leaders who are inclusive can explore new ways of learning. A heart-centered, inclusive leader must develop an approach to diversity and inclusion that leads to organizational impact.
Why do we need to encourage inclusive leaders?
An inclusive leader who encourages diversity is bound to be successful in the long run. The leaders reach and respond well to a large team.
They also ensure that the team members are valued, respected, and retained. Such factors make inclusive leadership an asset to an organization.
How do we go on to measure inclusive leadership?
There are some yardsticks for measuring inclusive leadership, like employee engagement or trust, via surveys.
How can managers be inclusive?
If you want to become an inclusive manager, you need to start making your values clear. Prioritize diversity and equality where you can.
Be open about your vulnerabilities and flaws, and encourage active collaboration and listening. Ensure that you listen to the feedback sincerely and implement it as far as possible. Try to understand the objectives of other people and their goals.
- Diversity In Leadership: Why Is Important & What You Can Do
- 10 Amazing Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
- The 11 Big Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace (Must Know)
- How To Build High-Performing Teams?
- Multigenerational Workforce Challenges In Workplace
Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.