Inclusive leadership practices benefit everyone. Team performance and culture is improved, and staff have higher wellbeing, feel more motivated and engaged.
To celebrate #InclusionAtWorkWeek (Nov 6-12) we invite you to learn how you can develop the traits of an inclusive leader.
First, let’s explore why organisations should care about developing inclusive leaders.
Inclusive organisations outperform those without D&I action
“Inclusion occurs when a diversity of people is respected, connected, progressing, and contributing to organisational success.” Source: DCA Inclusion@Work Index
The recent Inclusion@Work Index shows organisations taking D&I action outperform organisations that aren’t in a variety of performance and staff wellbeing measures.
Inclusive workplaces are:
- 11 times more likely to be highly effective than those in non-inclusive teams
- 6 times more likely to provide excellent customer service
Plus, staff at inclusive workplaces are:
- 4 times less likely to leave their job in the next 12 months
- 4 times less likely to feel work has a negative or very negative impact on their mental health.
- 5 times less likely to experience discrimination and/or harassment
- 10 times more likely to be innovative
“3 out of 4 Australian workers support or strongly support their organisation taking action to create a workplace which is diverse and inclusive.” – Source: DCA Inclusion@Work Index
As such, non-inclusive managers are bad for business. Employees are 3.5 times more likely to leave their current employer if they have a non-inclusive manager and 6 times less likely to be highly effective at work.
The business case for developing an inclusive culture is clear. But what exactly is inclusive leadership and what can you do to develop these leadership capabilities?
What is inclusive leadership?
Inclusive leaders value all staff members, invite diverse perspectives, and create a culture where people feel psychologically safe, heard, seen, included, and validated.
Inclusivity means not just that “we’re allowed to be there” but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.” – Claudia Brind-Woody, IBM Vice President
Traits of inclusive leaders
The below model developed by Deloitte University Press describes six signature traits of inclusive leaders.
You’re committed to diversity and inclusion because these objectives align with your personal values and because you believe in the business case.
You speak up and challenge the status quo, you are humble about your strengths and weaknesses.
You are mindful of personal and organizational blind spots, and self-regulate to help ensure “fair play.” (e.g. similarity-attraction bias, in-group favouritism, attribution error, groupthink)
You have an open mindset, a desire to understand how others view and experience the world, and a tolerance for making mistakes.
- Cultural intelligence
You are confident and effective in cross-cultural interactions.
You empower individuals as well as create and leverage the thinking of diverse groups.
Courage is important but can also be one of the hardest traits to achieve
In a recent poll we asked: which of the 6 traits of inclusive leaders do you think are the most important, and also which are the hardest to enact? Here are the results:
Actions you can take to develop inclusive leadership capabilities
- Identify which of the 6 Signature Strengths you want to focus on improving
- Make an effort to learn about the experiences of those not in your ‘in-group’ and other cultures
- Initiate feedback from peers and team members about your behaviours to ensure you’re being consistently inclusive
- Invest in further learning about inclusive leadership for you or your staff – learn more about our Inclusive Leadership in Action program.
- Read our related blog on diversity, equity, privilege and bias
- Learn more about Diversity Council Australia’s #InclusionatWorkWeek