How to Become a More Inclusive Leader
Companies increasingly rely on diverse, multidisciplinary teams that combine the collective capabilities of women and men, people of different cultural heritage, and younger and older workers.
But simply throwing a mix of people together doesn’t guarantee high performance; it requires inclusive leadership — leadership that assures that all team members feel they are treated respectfully and fairly, are valued and sense that they belong, and are confident and inspired.
Research involving 3,500 ratings by employees of 450 leaders found that inclusive leaders share six behaviors: visible commitment, humility, awareness of bias, curiosity about others, cultural intelligence, and effective collaboration.
It takes energy and deliberate effort to create an inclusive culture, and that starts with leaders paying much more attention to what they say and do on a daily basis.
These six behaviors ensure that everyone feels respected, valued, and inspired:
1. Show your commitment
Challenge the status quo
Hold others accountable
Make inclusion a personal priority
2. Practice humility
Be modest about your capabilities
Admit your mistakes
Create space for others to contribute
3. Know your biases
Be aware of your blind spots
Identify flaws in the system
Work hard to ensure meritocracy
4. Be curious about others
Demonstrate an open mindset
Listen without judgment
5. Learn about cultural differences
Be attentive to others’ cultures
Adapt your behavior when necessary
Value new perspectives
6. Encourage collaboration
Pay attention to their mind-state
Focus on team cohesion
Adapted from “Why Inclusive Leaders Are Good for Organizations, and How to Become One” by Juliet Bourke and Andrea Espedido.