The current business landscape globally is undergoing major changes. There are shifts in markets, evolving customer preferences and digitization – all resulting in changes affecting a number or corporates and organisations.
To assist companies navigate these waters, leaders are increasingly expected to have high-level skills when it comes to strategic vision, relationship building, business acumen, execution, innovation and inclusivity.
But what is inclusive leadership? In a Harvard review published in March 2019, Bourke and Espedido define inclusive leadership as a style that ensures all team members feel they are treated respectfully and fairly. That they feel that they belong and are inspired to perform at their best and confident to speak up. Research also shows that fostering a culture of inclusivity has positive impact on the performance of the team. Teams with leaders who practice inclusivity are 17% more likely to be high performing, 20% more likely to make high quality decisions and 29% more collaborative.
There are a number of traits that come into play for leaders to understand and execute practices that bring about inclusivity in the way they lead.
Commit to get to know each team member personally and recognize their uniqueness and strengths. Help each team member feel connected to the organization so they can foster a sense of ownership of their output and the success of the business.
As a leader one must be open to acknowledge their own personal limitations and be open to a culture that allows mistakes to be made, acknowledged and rectified – across all tiers of leadership. Courage to approach diversity and inclusion without fear and favour is vital in a world that is becoming less and less homogenous.
Cognisance of bias
Identify organizational processes that are biased. Once these have been identified begin a transparent process to rectify them. This process must be done in a safe environment where team members can learn their own personal biases, what steps they need to adjust their viewpoint and allow feedback from others.
A curious leader knows they do not know everything and are open to continuous learning. Their inquisitiveness gives them freedom to engage others without judgement and a real passion to see and appreciate other people’s diverse point of view.
Seeking out opportunities to learn and celebrate other cultures and getting clued up about leading a cross-cultural diverse team puts a leader in a position to gain support when there is a need to change company processes and style in order to work well with individuals from different backgrounds.
Organizations should assemble teams that are diverse in their thinking and empower them to handle difficult situations and things they can control. Promote respect and a culture where people feel comfortable to speak up.
Factor10 believes that to be proactive about inclusion requires re-focusing on a sense of belonging by establishing a more diverse and inclusive workplace. What is important to note is that inclusivity is tangible and defined not by grand occasional gestures but regular small scale interactions, actions and conversations.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organization navigate these waters and develop future-fit inclusive leaders.