With the many changes that have occurred over the past few years, we're now living in an increasingly diverse society. Now picture this, as a leader, not only do you have to adapt to an ever-evolving world but you're also tasked with the responsibility of helping others to do the same.
An article by Deloitte Insights summarises this aptly by stating, 'For leaders who have perfected their craft in a more homogenous environment, rapid adjustment is in order. Of course, the core aspects of leadership, such as setting direction and influencing others, are timeless, but we see a new capability that is vital to the way leadership is executed.'
They identified that new capacity as the need for inclusive leadership which involves adopting certain mindsets and behaviors.
The benefits of inclusive leadership
Practicing inclusive leadership will positively impact other employees at the company. It helps to improve communication and offers a greater sense of understanding. What's more is that beyond the interpersonal benefits, inclusiveness directly improves performance. Those under inclusive leadership were 17% more likely to report that they are high performing, 20% more likely to note that they make high-quality decisions and 29% more likely to report collaborative behavior.
Additionally, research has shown that as much as seventy-eight percent (78%) of people believe diversity and inclusion are a competitive advantage. Failure to adapt therefore means that you risk falling behind as a company by losing touch with current and potential employees as well as customers and clients.
The traits of an inclusive leader
After 20 years of experience as an international organizational development consultant specializing in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, I've come to understand what it takes to be an inclusive leader.
I also believe that a good leader is an inclusive leader because it's someone who recognizes the importance of adapting to diverse perspectives, learning styles and ways of thinking
Whether you're examining the leadership style of a company or striving to become a more inclusive leader, here are my top 3 recommendations:
1) Be diverse as an individual
Before you're defined as a leader, you're a person with your own upbringing, ways of thinking and experiences. However, whether or not you are part of a minority or diverse group, inclusivity goes beyond that. It means developing an open mindset for diversity and one way to do that is by first being diverse as an individual. That will then influence how you talk, think and act.
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About the Author
Christopher "CJ" Gross is a TEDx Speaker, international speaker and the founder of Ascension Worldwide, a firm dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity training and consulting based in the Washington, D.C., area. He is a certified Social + Emotional Intelligence coach, trainer, Keirsey Temperament professional, Intercultural Development Inventory Administrator and executive coach, with additional expertise in organizational mediation.