What is inclusive leadership and Why does it matter?

What makes employees feel included in the workplace? What makes them feel they are respected and treated like an equal? What makes them feel valued and appreciated?

A lot of companies invest much time and resources in answering these questions to ensure that the workplace is as conducive as possible. Most organisations put in the time to review their mission, policies, and practices, as well as co-worker behaviours and guidelines. However, one important facet that must also be considered is leadership.

Good leadership is pivotal to the success of any organisation. However, there are a lot of different leadership styles and identifying the best one would be like grasping at straws. However, one of the most respected leadership styles is one that focuses on and values the company’s most important resource – employees. This is called inclusive leadership.

What is inclusive leadership?

According to Harvard Business Review, inclusive leadership is a leadership style that “assures all team members feel they are treated respectfully and fairly, are valued and have a sense that they belong.” Leaders can sometimes become biased due to their background or own preferences, thus hampering innovation and growth. Inclusive leadership creates conditions wherein employees are encouraged to put in new ideas, share new insights and different perspectives. For good ideas to become great, they need to be heard and an inclusive leader isn’t boxed inside his own ideas. Rather, he encourages his team to share their ideas and best practices.

How is inclusive leadership done?

Inclusive leaders encourage collaboration. As the saying goes, two heads (or more) are better than one. Inclusive leaders create the opportunity for teams to work together, setting frameworks and guidelines for everyone to work effectively, and ultimately set them up for success.

Inclusive leaders encourage communication. Great leaders are transparent towards their employees and encourage transparency. They invest time to “fill in the blanks” within the organisation so that all employees know exactly the “whys” of “how’s”. They are quick to answer and resolve any questions or concerns that arise within their group.

Inclusive leaders encourage diversity. An inclusive leader welcomes a mix of employees with different backgrounds. Instead of demoralising people because of their background or preference, they use it as building blocks to progress an idea from just a mere idea to innovation.

Inclusive leaders are humble. Any person who thinks so highly of himself constantly pushes others down to feed into their own ego. However, inclusive leaders are the opposite, being modest about their knowledge and capabilities. They are ready to admit any mistakes they make and are open to receiving feedback.

Inclusive leaders are curious about others. To be truly inclusive in the workplace, a leader should take interest in her employees and their backgrounds. He displays an open mindset about others and other cultures. He listens without judgement and applies empathy when listening to those around them.

There is much more to being an inclusive leader. However, one thing is for sure, inclusive leaders know how to harness the power of a diverse team and guiding them into success.

If you want to know more about inclusive leadership and how it can benefit your organisation, then send Carrie Benedet a message today.

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