Developing Inclusive Leaders, every day

inclusive leadership

Global research has shown that for you to succeed (and thrive) in a complex and volatile context, you need to build on leadership levers like strategic vision, relationships, acumen, execution, inspiration and innovation.

While these remain critical, how you lead in this context requires the development of a new leadership capability – inclusive leadership. However, the case for inclusive and diverse teams is not just about compliance. There is both a moral and a business case for inclusion.

Last week we looked at the six signature traits of inclusive leadership, and how those traits lead to higher performance and better quality decisions.

Millenial and Generation Z speaker and expert, Ryan Jenkins, suggests six steps to becoming an inclusive leader, and three behaviours inclusive leaders must demonstrate daily and in every interaction with their teams.

Ask yourself these questions and see if you can answer with a wholehearted “Yes”.

  1. Belief: Do you wholeheartedly believe everyone is created equal and should be treated as equals?
  2. Awareness: Are you aware of the conscious and unconscious biases you had (or            have) towards others and are you willing to confront and deal with them?
  3. Boldness: Are you honest with others about your shortcomings or             misperceptions?
  4. Curiosity: Are you open to acknowledging that your current way of engaging the world might be wrong and are you open to unlearning and relearning from others?
  5. Action: Are your behaviors and actions towards others aligned with your belief in equality?
  6. Commitment: Do you consistently hold yourself and others accountable to a culture of inclusion?

But actions speak louder than words, and Jenkins believes that inclusive leaders need to demonstrate the following three behaviours daily:

  1. Treat every individual and group fairly.
  2. Understand and value the uniqueness of individuals while including them as members of the group
  3. Tap into cognitive diversity for enhanced decision-making and risk reduction

According to Hayley Barnard, Co-Founder of MIX Diversity Developers, inclusive leaders create teams that feel safe, trust them and ultimately, perform better. This is backed up by Deloitte’s research which showed that inclusive organisations were twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times more likely to be high performing and six times more likely to be innovative.

So, the case for inclusive and diverse teams is not just about compliance. There is both an ethical and business case for it. Having inclusive teams positively impacts your bottom line as an organisation.

While leaders themselves are often unsure of whether others experience them as inclusive, research shows that inclusive leadership behaviours are tangible. It is not in the occasional, grand gestures that matter but regular, smaller-scale actions, interactions and conversations that people remember. As an inclusive leader, as the habit guru Gretchen Rubin stressed – “what you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while”.

Factor10 believes that inclusive leadership is defined not by grand occasional gestures but regular small-scale interactions, actions and conversations.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organisation navigate these waters and develop future-fit inclusive leaders.

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