Inclusive leadership refers to the ability to manage and lead a mixed group while respecting the differences and acknowledging the uniqueness in an unbiased manner. This leadership style eliminates all forms of discrimination and values employees for their contribution to the company.
Why is Inclusive Leadership important?
We live in a diverse world. Today, businesses are crossing geographical boundaries and reaching the hearts of millions. With customer bases and markets becoming diverse day by day, companies need to adapt quickly to changing scenarios. They need to alter their perspectives and have an all-encompassing approach that would cater to the needs of a diverse population.
Inclusive leadership makes all of these possible. It creates an inclusive environment that welcomes all differences and creates the perfect workspace where all employees feel respected and valued.
What are the typical traits of an inclusive leader?
In 2016, Deloitte Australia conducted a study of inclusive leaders from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, and the US. The report of the study reveals all the fundamental traits:
Inclusive leaders are driven by a strong desire to create positive changes in the workplace. They take the responsibility of change on their own shoulders and devote considerable time and effort to develop and nurture inclusive workforces. Their actions reflect a true commitment to their work.
An inclusive leader is never afraid to challenge organizational practices that negate heterogeneity. They dare to acknowledge their limitations and seek help from others to overcome them. They always recommend employee-friendly attitudes and policies even if that means going against the common and popular norms.
Cognizance of bias:
Inclusive leaders constantly make efforts to find out their personal biases and work towards eliminating them. They also devise and implement policies and processes to eradicate organizational biases. These leaders remain careful so that their personal visions do not influence their organizational decisions. They constantly try out newer approaches and concentrate on making objective decisions.
An inclusive leader typically has a passion for learning. Such leaders are curious, open-minded, and always ready to accept different approaches and diverse perspectives. They give importance to others’ viewpoints and initiate thought-provoking conversations through respectful questioning. They are active listeners and avoid being judgemental.
Leaders need to change their leadership style with regard to the varied cultural norms. Culturally intelligent, extroverted, and demonstrative leaders try to show restraint while dealing with individuals whose cultures give importance to humility and modesty. They understand various cultures and modify their behaviors accordingly. They are also aware of their own cultures and work hard to prevent cultural stereotyping.
Inclusive leaders know that for a successful collaboration, all team members need the freedom to share their perspectives and voice their opinions. For this, they build an environment where all individuals can express themselves freely without the fear of being judged. They concentrate on the team composition as well as its processes. They encourage the feeling of oneness and build the concepts of shared goals and group identity.