If you haven’t already heard, there is a difference between diversity and inclusion and in leadership roles, inclusion is more vital than ever, and therefore, there is now a huge demand for inclusive leadership roles. However, the biggest discrepancy in terms of hiring is when companies ask for candidates who have 10 or more years of experience in D&I when there are so few people who have worked in such roles for that length. This really does exclude people because a majority of D&I roles often go to HR professionals too. Professionals are few and far between who are solely working in the D&I sphere. Hence, the need for inclusive leadership is truly the need of the hour because most of what leaders stand for and work for makes all the difference.
“Admitting one’s own mistakes and the fact that as a leader you don’t have all the answers but are willing to make a change”
There has to be actionable commitment because, without it, inclusion becomes mere lip service. According to research by Harvard Business Review, humility plays a massive role in how leaders are being perceived. It all being with admitting one’s own mistakes and the fact that as a leader you don’t have all the answers but are willing to make a change. ‘ one direct report told us that their leader “is very open and vulnerable about her weaknesses, which she mentions when we undergo team development workshops. She shares her leadership assessments openly with the team and often asks for feedback and help to improve,”’ reported HBR.
“Inclusion starts at the top of the organization, and D&I will never get anywhere without the sponsorship of executive leadership”
Another important trait is empathy, and this definitely goes hand in hand with humility. ‘“[The leader’s] empathy in interacting with others, makes [the leader] approachable, trustworthy and shows [their] eagerness to work with and/or support peers, colleagues, and superiors.” When cognizance of bias is combined with high levels of empathy/perspective-taking, it can increase raters’ feelings of inclusion by up to 33%,’ revealed HBR. Hence, inclusive leadership can help leverage diversity and diverse perspectives to really challenge the current corporate status quo. Whether it’s the inclusion of women, the LGBTQi community, and people who are differently-abled, can we truly say that the workplace at large is slightly inclusive if at all fully inclusive? Whether people care to admit it or not, inclusion starts at the top of the organization, and D&I will never get anywhere without the sponsorship of executive leadership. So, how vital is inclusive leadership? Do the math.
Image credit: Inc. Magazine