It’s all in the numbers, the stories and the perspective: Inclusive leadership is the key to unlocking the true potential of organizations
As organizations make significant investments to accelerate the charter of inclusiveness and diversity within the cultural fabrics of their ecosystem, the leaders of tomorrow are congratulated for leading from the front, which demands recognition of the value to across the layers and spectrum of organizational hierarchies.
Although the definition of inclusive leadership appears to be business behavior that displays diversification into aspects of multi-gender, cross-locations, diverse ethnicities, and associated human traits; it calls for leadership approaches that encompass a diverse workforce that can take an organization to new heights.
A paradox of inclusive leadership is also about the defining moments that transform the workplace into a more welcoming space where individual differences are accepted, the power to experiment and take risks is granted, and responsibility and ownership is established. . These characteristics of a workplace, whether physical, virtual or hybrid, are even more important for organizations to create stimulating spaces where every employee can feel useful and find meaning in their work.
So what does inclusive leadership look like?
Inclusive leadership: beyond the numbers
While the correlation between diversity and growth has been accepted and established in digital decades and beyond, the numbers also make a strong case for inclusive leadership. Consider the following:
- Inclusiveness starts at the top: Organizations with mixed teams at the executive level are likely to create more value than their less diverse counterparts.
- Inclusiveness beyond borders: This inclusive leadership drives greater growth is not specific to geography or culture – the correlation exists between geographies and countries.
- Inclusiveness broadens horizons: Inclusive leadership leads to inclusive organizations and work cultures, which are much more likely to enter new markets.
While the numbers make a strong case for inclusive leadership, there is a more direct case for inclusive leadership – as each team member brings their own stories and their identities are made up of different approaches to education. and culture. In addition to endowing each individual with a unique set of traits that define their problem-solving abilities and creative abilities, their diversity is also manifested in the expression of their identity.
Without each individual feeling good about themselves, leaders cannot nurture their teams to their full potential – which is why inclusive leadership is ideally a must for any organization that wants to foster a nurturing workplace for its workforce. In turn, this also helps the organization to attract diverse talent, especially since a diverse set of individuals highly seek such work environments.
Inclusive leadership: breaking it down
So what does inclusive leadership look like? To begin with, inclusive leadership begins with a strong sense of self-awareness. To share the space for reflection and work with people with differences, leaders must first be aware that their preconceived notions about behavior, self-expression and work can hamper their ability to accept difference by first place. In turn, inclusive leaders learn to overcome their biases by learning behaviors, which are based on open communication with their team members. Here are some characteristic traits of inclusive leaders:
- Inclusiveness is in the words: What leaders say and do, determines whether an individual feels included under their leadership – by 70%. Additionally, inclusive leaders tend to be genuinely committed to accepting the differences and diversity of individuals while establishing accountability.
- Inclusiveness comes with humility: Inclusive leaders are not only aware of their biases, but they are also humble in the face of the mistakes they make and demand direct feedback – and this humility combined with knowing the biases can increase individuals’ ability to feel by 25%. included.
- Inclusiveness calls for empathic interactions: Several teams carry out perspective exercises. However, people only feel included when such exercises are carried out with empathy. This increases an individual’s sense of inclusion by 33%.
When these numbers are viewed from a team member’s perspective, these characteristics become obvious: after all, inclusiveness begins with a genuine connection to a person’s perspective and understanding of a person’s perspective. where it comes from. As a result, inclusive leaders are curious about the cultures of others and often learn about the psychological well-being of their team members. In other words, inclusive leaders are great at connecting with people who are different from them in minor and major ways. This is an excellent point for addressing the challenges of inclusive leadership in today’s virtual workspaces.
Inclusive leadership in today’s environment
While the pandemic has left everyone across countries and cultures facing their own set of issues, it has also created more space for empathy by uniting everyone with a common set of challenges and questions. psychological well-being. However, it was also a time of learning for leaders and showing new horizons to build inclusion in a virtual workplace, where everyone comes from the point of social isolation. Inclusive leadership has therefore become a necessity for individuals to feel more socially connected and individually empowered. The work created a space for meaning, and inclusive leaders used this opportunity to create a sense of belonging and purpose.
In the virtual workspace, inclusive leadership has taken on new forms as online meetings have opened a window to personal life. Here are some ways inclusive leaders have made their team members feel welcome and united in their purpose:
- They asked about pets and family members moving in the background of their team members’ video feeds.
- They were more tolerant of head office restrictions on the work habits of their team members by creating more flexibility.
- They were curious about the backgrounds of their team members when they joined meetings from their bedroom, living room, or rooftop.
There is a common thread in these behaviors: Inclusive leaders are curious about the people they work with, without invading personal space. They recognize individual limitations, but they also navigate these cultural and individual preferences while making emotional connections and empowering them to realize their potential – discussing opportunities and filling them by showing steps to growth. While the ability to develop individual talent is a hallmark of all leaders, inclusive leaders can also find this development space with diverse groups.
Future workspaces must be inclusive
Inclusiveness is more important than ever before – and it will be even more so in the future. As organizations adopt hybrid work models, they will also open up to a more diverse global workforce. Additionally, Millennials and Gen Z bring their cultural and individual values and differences to the workplace as employees and to the marketplace as customers. Organizations need to be more than tolerant and adapt to this diversity that is emerging in markets and within talent pools – they need to be welcoming and recognize diversity as an asset. Inclusive leadership will be instrumental in helping them realize this vision, and that is precisely why leaders like you will be the heroes of growth stories for the decade to come.
As I welcome the new season of 2022 with all of you, here is my ode to all inclusive and inspiring leaders like you who are at the forefront of the industrial revolution and who are bringing positive inclusion change, like never before.
So you are finally here
Dripping straight, dazzling
What in turn do you yearn for from me with reverence
A cool mist of patience and perseverance?
Ok, I won’t let you down – I make the wish
Whatever your expectation, I will sow
For you to witness me, the unmistakable impresario
You will be my best friend – you will be my Mario.
Let me confide in you graciously, with impetus
If you go to a stew and lose your temper
Look at me – “Hang on a mo.”
And the crowd will erupt singing – you are my hero!
Written by Vijay Verma.
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