Inclusive leadership: An essential competitive advantage
When I think of Inclusivity and the importance thereof in high performance Organisations I can still recall my own personal experience as a young woman entering the Financial Services sector. The lack of inclusivity at that stage was not based on my gender or colour, it was based on the fact that I came from a working class background...I didn’t meet the social standing criteria!
I have a passion for managing inclusivity and believe it is at the heart of an organisation and reflects directly the level of engagement and performance and teamwork within an Organisation. 2020 Has taught us an enormous amount about ourselves. It has also highlighted more than ever the role that leadership plays.
The one thing I became distinctly aware of over the last year was that moving into the 4th Industrial Revolution requires a new and innovative Leadership style for Companies to thrive and remain relevant and competitive. Recognising the importance of diversity is imperative in keeping up with the ever-shifting working environment we find ourselves in.
An inclusive leader is able to lead a diverse group of people. It is the ability to respect and leverage the diversity of the group in both thought and experience. It, however, requires that Leaders engage fully, with their Heart and Head to be able to lead in an empathetic and bias free style.
Inclusive Leaders drive change
The importance of being an Inclusive leader is invaluable. They can embrace change while motivating the team to accomplish top results. Understanding the need for diversity in the workplace as a Leader generates an energy of innovation, driving high performance through connectiveness and collaboration.
People often ask me whether being an Inclusive Leader is a skill that can be learnt? My answer remains a resounding “Yes”. However I didn’t say it is an easy learn, it takes effort because it does not necessarily come naturally. The reward and outcome in Leading High Performance Teams however remains undeniable.
What qualities do Inclusive Leaders possess?
1. Commitment – They’re committed to creating a diverse, inclusive environment for all within the workplace. This can include investing time, energy and their resources to ensure that all employees feel respected and heard, and to create a healthy company culture for everyone within the organisation.
2. They’re brave – They aren’t afraid of challenges and are willing to put ideas and opinions out that may be seen as risky or unpopular.
3. Respect – Inclusive leaders respect and embrace that everyone is individual and recognise the value of different perspectives.
4. Open-minded – They love being exposed to new ideas and have a desire to learn, innovate and implement positive change within the team and organisation.
5. Great communicators – Inclusive leaders do not only possess strong communication skills but are good at listening without judging. They are able to listen, not only to hear.
6. Cultural and emotional intelligence – They can identify and acknowledge the different cultures and emotions within a team and remain respectful of these, adjusting behaviour accordingly.
7. They’re collaborative – Inclusive leaders thrive off collaboration and realise that this is the building block for success. They strive to create an environment where everyone feels empowered, supported and able to express opinions, ideas and suggestions within the team.
Building the muscle
Whether you are a current Leader or an upcoming Leader, exercising the Inclusive Leadership muscle has tremendous benefits. For upcoming Leaders to equip themselves with the knowledge and insight to develop high performance teams and grow into an Inclusive Leader and for existing Leaders that have a desire to challenge themselves in order to lead their organisations and teams to new growth.
We have found that the obstacles to optimal motivated and engaged teams are often embedded in the environment and culture. Great Leaders embracing Inclusivity have the power to influence both.
Let us help you build your Leadership muscles.
If you are people orientated, a great listener, committed, collaborative, have excellent communication skills, and you’re ready to take your career to the next level then our Inclusive Leadership Programme is just for you!
Our course is focused on new and existing leaders that are looking to upskill themselves to be able to build, guide, lead and manage high performing, diverse teams within their organisation. Not only will you learn irreplaceable life skills, but the likelihood of a company looking to hire an inclusive leader over just a regular one is vast.