While more and more leaders are aware of the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive culture, many don't know how to be an inclusive leader. As a speaker on generational workplace diversity, I experience first hand the challenges leaders have grasping inclusive leadership.
In my recent article, 6 Reasons to Be an Inclusive Leader, I highlight growing trends that are driving the need for inclusive leadership. Inclusion is a new capability that leaders must fold into the other timeless leadership capabilities such as influencing, effective communication, vision casting, team building, etc.
Inclusive leaders not only embrace, value, and provide a sense of belonging to individuals, but they leverage individual differences as a competitive advantage.
In order for leaders to equip themselves with an inclusive capability, there are six questions that must be answered with a virtuous and resounding, "yes."
6 Steps to Become an Inclusive Leader
- Belief: Do you wholeheartedly believe everyone is created equal?
- Awareness: Are you aware of the conscious and unconscious biases you had (or have) towards others?
- Boldness: Are you honest with others about your shortcomings or misperceptions?
- Curiosity: Are you open to unlearning and relearning from others?
- Action: Are your behaviors and actions towards others aligned with your belief in equality?
- Commitment: Do you consistently hold yourself and others accountable to a culture of inclusion?
Inclusive behavior trumps inclusive programs. Sixty-nine percent of workers value working for an organization that demonstrates inclusive behaviors but inconsistent inclusion programs--as opposed to high-quality inclusion programming but inconsistent inclusive behaviors. In order to create and sustain a culture of inclusion, leaders must behave inclusively.
More specifically, employees feel included at work when they are...
- Treated fairly
- Appreciated for uniqueness
- Provided a sense of belonging
- Given decision-making voice
As a result, inclusive leaders should demonstrate these three daily behaviors...
- Treat every individual and group fairly
- Understand and value the uniqueness of individuals while including them as members of the group
- Tap into cognitive diversity for enhanced decision-making and risk reduction
Leaders who embrace diversity and inclusion will find themselves properly equipped to thrive in today's increasingly diverse 21st-century workplace and marketplace.