What makes people feel included in organizations? Feel that they are treated fairly and respectfully, are valued and belong? Along with the organization’s mission, policies, and practices, and co-worker behaviors, it also comes down to leaders. What leaders say and do makes up to a 70% difference as to whether an individual reports feeling included. And this really matters because the more people feel included, the more they speak up, go the extra mile, and collaborate — all of which ultimately lifts organizational performance.
Given this formula, inclusive leadership is emerging as a unique and critical capability, helping organizations adapt to diverse customers, markets, ideas and talent. Here’s a breakdown of six signature traits which are shared by inclusive leaders:
- Visible commitment: They articulate authentic commitment to diversity, challenge the status quo, hold others accountable, and make diversity and inclusion a personal priority.
- Humility: They are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes, and create the space for others to contribute.
- Awareness of bias: They show awareness of personal blind spots, as well as flaws in the system, and work hard to ensure a meritocracy.
- Curiosity about others: They demonstrate an open mindset and deep curiosity about others, listen without judgment, and seek with empathy to understand those around them.
- Cultural intelligence: They are attentive to others’ cultures and adapt as required.
- Effective collaboration: They empower others, pay attention to diversity of thinking and psychological safety, and focus on team cohesion.
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