September 11, 2023
min read
People & Culture

Understanding Inclusive Leadership

It’s 2022 and it’s probably time to re-think your organization and make a few amendments to head into the right direction. In this article, we will touch on how you can incorporate inclusive leadership into your organization for it to thrive.

According to Korn Ferry, “Diverse and inclusive organizations are 70% more likely than their peers to capture new markets.”

So does that mean we must practice diversity and inclusion within our organizations? No. But if you wish to create a culture where it generates employee retention, a thriving workforce, perhaps re-assessing your core values as an organization would be ideal to step into the right direction.

But what are the top benefits of inclusive leadership, what are the actions to take to introduce inclusivity into your organization? Questions we will be answering along this article and giving you the lowdown on what it takes to take your organization to new heights for 2022. Plus, we will also look into what are the traits of an inclusive leader!

Let’s start with the basics: What is inclusive leadership?

  1. Treating people and groups fairly: looking for what they are and what they bring to the table, as opposed to stereotypes. 
  2. Individuality: understanding that everyone is unique, with a set of remarkable characteristics and being able to accept each individual and what they have to offer to the organization. 
  3. Better thinking: enhance and motivate diverse group thinking for smarter decisions and also enhance decision making to reduce last minute surprises. 

According to Deloitte’s article, these are the six traits of an inclusive leader: 

Cognizance: Being unbiased, not letting voices get to your head and being able to take opinions as they are. 

Curiosity: Being inquisitive and curious enables growth between teams and the company.

Courage: Discussing imperfections and being vulnerable. 

Commitment: Sticking to the plan regardless of its difficulties and obstacles.

Collaboration: Diverse thinking will always bring diverse solutions!

Cultural Intelligence: Being able to respect and understand that not everyone sees the world as we do. We all come with different backgrounds, traditions and cultures. 

six signature traits holaspirit
“If inclusive leadership reflects a new way of leading teams, then we need to look beyond traditional leadership assessment tools and frameworks.” - Deloitte 

But for a better understanding of what it truly takes to become an inclusive leader, Dr. Steven Jones delves on this topic: “ To the brain, similarity equals safety and differences equal potential threat and that can make a world of difference. This experiential session will reveal keys to become inclusive leaders, a key skill to create a thriving organization.”

But how does one start with inclusive leadership in an organization? The answer is: empathy. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, “empathy is the foundation of our ability to connect with each other on an emotional level and sets the stage for inclusion.” We teach those around us how to act with empathy if we decide to act on it, too. Parents teach their kids empathy by being an example, just as a leader teaches their colleagues all about empathy if they also set and lead by example. 

According to the article, there are seven acts of inclusion to practice amongst the organization for it to transform and thrive to a better one:

  1. Self-awareness: Build a solid foundation, personally – get to know yourself and be comfortable with who you are. 
  2. Foster social awareness: It is vital to get to know your colleagues, this is why, learn on how to take the time to really get to know their interests, culture and traditions. It’s important to be aware of what’s outside your comfort zone and daily routine. 
  3. Reveal blind spots: Learn about yourself and those around you. Pay attention to what is happening, socially, and you will see how much you can learn from those sitting across our desk.
  4. Listen to understand: Listening is a powerful tool, you’d be surprised at how much we can learn from active listening. With this, it will give you a better understanding of your employees, teams and organization. You might even discover key things that are needed to make your teams thrive. 
  5. Create connections: Creating connections diversifies your team and network – you want your portfolio/team/organization to be as diversified as possible for a better outcome, whether it’s an issue, project, or vision. 
  6. Lead with courageous vulnerability: As a leader it is vital to lead with vulnerability and position yourself in positions where you feel weak, to lead with courage. 
  7. Invest resources: As a leader/team member, you must know that for your organization to thrive you must invest in resources, people and in your community. Invest in innovation and you will see how your organization will evolve and employee satisfaction will increase.
inclusion holaspirit

But to dive deeper into the matter, Damien Hooper-Campbell, Chief Diversity Officer at Zoom, might just help you understand more on the subject.

Looking into the future

According to Mckinsey’s article, studies have shown that when employers take time to invest the right amount of effort into making the organization thrive with diversity and inclusion, employees are more likely to feel included and partake within the organization. With a workflow that has been evolving since the pandemic with a hybrid work force, today is the time to take the necessary steps and create a working culture that will ooze with diversity and inclusion, but overall, empathy. 

Revolutionize your way of working now!