Why Organisations Need Inclusive Leaders?
Inclusive leadership is no longer a ‘nice to have’ factor in the organisaitons. It’s needed as such leaders are open to change. They genuinely care about their employees as ‘humans’, not machines. And they respect and welcome differences. A research shows that it directly enhances performance. Teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to report that they are high performing, 20% more likely to say they make high-quality decisions, and 29% more likely to report behaving collaboratively. What’s more, they discovered that a 10% improvement in perceptions of inclusion increases work attendance by almost 1 day a year per employee, reducing the cost of absenteeism.
“For a long time, the workplace mantra was to minimize your personal life, to leave whatever it is at the door,” says Ashley Oolman, a disability inclusion consultant whose clients range from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses to school districts. “Now the mantra is to bring your best self, your whole self, to work.”
Inclusive leadership can help employees feel comfortable doing this. Here are 05 Inclusive Leadership Essentials for business leaders to work towards:
1. Commitment for Diversity & Inclusion
- Allocating resources and holding yourself accountable for improving diversity and inclusion
- Treating all team members with fairness and respect
- Understanding what makes individuals unique, and ensuring they feel connected to the team
- Working through obstacles, and adapting to meet the needs of others
2. You Can’t Change Everything
- Seeking feedback and acknowledging personal weaknesses
- Showing humility and admitting when you’ve made a mistake
- Challenging the status quo and calling out bias when you see it
3. Awareness of Bias
- Developing an understanding of different kinds of personal biases, such as implicit stereotypes, groupthink, and confirmation bias
- Learning to self-regulate and take corrective steps to ensure fair play
- Establishing transparent policies for making merit-based decisions about promotions, rewards, and task allocations.
4. Openness & Transparency
- Creating and sustaining a culture for openness and transparency
- Showing a desire for continuous learning and improvement
- Accepting your own limitations and seeking diverse perspectives
- Coping with ambiguity and accepting that some uncertainty is inevitable
5. Cultural intelligence
- Valuing cultural differences and seeking opportunities to learn about other cultures. This truly helps the organisations to be recognised as an equal opportunity employers.
- Developing an awareness of how cultural stereotypes can influence expectations
- Accepting that people might need to change their behavior to navigate cross-cultural interactions
Inclusive leaders are critical to success. They unlock individual potential, enhance the collective power of teams, and support your organization’s ability to innovate and grow. To be precise, companies increasingly rely on diverse, multidisciplinary teams that combine the collective capabilities of both women and men, people of different cultural heritage, and from different age brackets. 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.
These above essentials may seem like the obvious ones, similar to those that are broadly important for good leadership. But the difference between assessing and developing good leadership generally versus inclusive leadership need to be seen with a different lens.
Muhammad Sajwani is the Founder and Managing Director of Evolve HR which aims at transforming, enriching and evolving Human Capital of Pakistan. Evolve HR thrives in challenging assumptions that hinder organisational aspirations, by creating innovative solutions that yield maximum impact, scalability & benefit to a wider base of stakeholders. As a Business Coach and Organisational Consultant, Sajwani knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.