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By Tanja Saarinen Chávez

03 April 2023

Inclusive Leadership: What It Is and Why It Matters

Inclusive leadership has become a buzzword in recent years, but what exactly is it? Inclusive leadership is a management style that values and uses all employees' unique perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds to create a diverse workplace with high feelings of inclusion.

 

Inclusive leadership is crucial when leading a multicultural team. It promotes a sense of belonging and respect for all members of the team, regardless of their background or culture. By creating an inclusive environment where everyone an entire team or organization feels valued and heard, employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity can increase significantly.

 

It also helps to minimize misunderstandings, conflicts, and biases that can arise in diverse teams. By embracing different perspectives and experiences, inclusive leadership can lead to more innovative and creative solutions, as well as better decision-making. Ultimately, in a globalized economy where businesses are increasingly diverse, inclusive leadership is key to creating a workplace culture that promotes unity, collaboration and success.

 

This article will explore the key aspects and key skills of inclusive leadership behaviours and why it's essential for any business to succeed and to gain competitive advantages.

 

What Are the Most Important Inclusive Leadership Traits and Key Leadership Capabilities?

 

Inclusive leadership is crucial for any company to succeed in today's business environment. By valuing diversity of thought, encouraging open communication, and providing support and development opportunities, an inclusive leader creates an organizational culture that values everyone's contributions.

 

As organizations become more diverse, leaders will become even more essential for building strong, successful and inclusive teams with diversity of talent. That is why it important for organizations to start investing training that will increase the inclusive leadership competencies. 

 

1. Fairness and Equitable Treatment

 

Inclusive leaders emphasize fairness and equitable treatment for all employees. Leaders who demonstrate inclusive behaviour ensure that everyone has equal opportunities and access to resources, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics.

 

In many cultures, fairness and equality are highly valued. Employees expect to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their background, identity or status quo. Effective inclusive leaders recognize and appreciate these cultural values, and strive to create a workplace culture that embodies them.

 

This means providing all employees with equal opportunities for advancement and growth, treating all employees with fairness and equity, and promoting a work environment free from discrimination, retaliation or harassment.

 

In an inclusive workplace, employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and ideas, and feel confident that their contributions will be valued and recognized. In essence, equity and equity are an important part of creating a culture that is inclusive and respectful, and that benefits from diversity.

 

You can read more about why diversity and inclusion matter in this blog post. 

 

Inclusive leaders value diversity of thought

 

2. Encourages Diversity of Thought

 

Inclusive leaders value diversity of thought, recognizing that it leads to better decision-making, innovation and creative thinking. They encourage employees to speak up and share their ideas, even if they differ from the norm. They create a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions, also on an emotional level.

 

In a multicultural team, each person brings with them their unique experience, background, and views. With correct leadership, this can be used to improve problem-solving, decision-making, and cognitive diversity of an entire organization. Effective inclusive leaders understand that diversity of thought promotes innovation and creativity, and they actively work to encourage diverse perspectives in the workplace.

 

Inclusive leaders know how to open dialogue and debate constructively, because they know it will lead to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

 

3. Cultural Awareness and Continuos Development of Cultural Intelligence

 

An inclusive leader recognizes the importance of understanding and appreciating different cultures. They understand that cultural intelligence is essential for building genuine relationships, collaborating effectively, and leading diverse teams.

 

Inclusive leaders facilitate cultural awareness by providing opportunities for team members to learn about different cultures and customs. This could include cultural training sessions, workshops, or team building activities that focus on cultural understanding.

 

They encourage diversity of ideas, their team members to ask questions, explore different perspectives, and learn about cultural nuances that may impact the workplace. Inclusive leaders also promote continuous development of cultural intelligence by encouraging ongoing education and learning opportunities.

 

By promoting cultural awareness and continuous development of cultural intelligence, leaders can increase business performance while promoting a feeling of inclusion.

 

Increasing cultural intelligence is an effective way to develop inclusive leadership skills. Read more about it in this blog post.

 

4. Actively Listens and Empathizes

 

Inclusive leaders listen actively and empathize with their employees on a personal level. They take the time to understand their concerns and challenges, while improving organizational performance and wellbeing, and to build stronger relationships with their team members.

 

Cultures differ in their communication styles, values, and beliefs, and it is essential to recognize and appreciate these differences to create an inclusive organizations. An inclusive leader can understand the needs and concerns of their team members through active listening, and by empathizing, they can understand the experiences and perspectives of others.

 

This allows them to relate to others and create more personal relationships and trust with their team members. Inclusive leaders promote open communication and provide a safe space for individuals to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. By doing so, they encourage effective communication among team members from different cultural backgrounds.

 

They also recognize that cultural differences can impact how people learn and work. Therefore, they are more attuned to the needs of each individual on their team. Ultimately, an inclusive leader who knows how to utilize active listening skills can create a culture that values and respects individual differences, which leads to increased psychological safety.

 

Inclusive leaders recognize that cultural differences can impact how people learn and work.

 

5. Provides Support and Development Opportunities

 

An inclusive leader understands the unique challenges that people from different cultural backgrounds may face in the workplace. They work to create an environment where everyone can thrive.

 

Inclusive leaders provide support to their team members by creating opportunities for them to develop their skills and advance in their careers. They recognize that certain cultural values may impact how employees approach work and may require different types of support. For example, some cultures value collaboration over individual effort, while others place a higher emphasis on individual achievement.

 

Inclusive leaders provide opportunities for both, recognizing that different team members will have different needs. Support and development opportunities can include mentoring, coaching, training, and learning and development programs. Inclusive leaders recognize that everyone has unique talents and abilities, which may need nurturing and development to fully flourish in the workplace.

 

Get to know how multicultural training can help your team achieve more than ever before.

 

6. Portraits of an Inclusive Behaviour and Key Traits

 

An inclusive leader understands that as a leader, she or he plays a crucial role in shaping the culture of their team. They take personal responsibility for creating an inclusive and respectful work environment in which it is more than okay to have conversations around diversity.

 

Through their actions, they demonstrate their commitment to equality of opportunity, and they encourage their team members to do the same. Inclusive leaders celebrate the differences that make each of us unique.

 

An inclusive leader is culturally intelligent and understands the status quo and its influence on cultures. They also recognize their personal biases and work to overcome them, modelling the behaviour they expect from others.

 

By promoting social awareness and strategic initiatives, they inspire others to do the same. Ultimately, an inclusive leader creates a workplace culture that promotes respect, collaboration, and success, while increasing the cultural intelligence of the whole team.

 

An inclusive leader is culturally intelligent and understands the status quo and its influence on cultures.

 

7. Reduces Blind Points

 

Inclusive leadership helps to recognize blind spots by ensuring that everyone has a voice and is encouraged to share their perspectives. Blind spots are areas where we may not be aware of our biases or assumptions. They can affect the way we work and the way we interact with others.

 

An inclusive leader recognizes that everyone brings a unique perspective based on their culture, experiences, and beliefs. By actively seeking out different views and encouraging open dialogue, inclusive leaders can identify areas where important information or perspectives are missing on their team.

 

This leads to smarter decision-making and a greater appreciation for the diversity of experiences that each team member brings to the table. By recognizing and addressing blind spots, inclusive leaders create a culture of respect while reducing organizational biases.

 

 

To summarize, inclusive leadership style is essential for creating a productive work environment and building relationships across cultures. An inclusive leader takes the time to get to know their team members and to understand the cultural nuances that may influence how they approach their work. Inclusive leaders have both emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence to foster genuine relationships and navigate cultural differences to make high-quality decisions.

 

 

Are you ready to start developing inclusive leadership capabilities and putting your staff on top of the business priorities? I offer customized leadership training that will help your leaders celebrate a sense of inclusiveness and cultural diversity, which will ultimately lead to business success.

 

Book a meeting to find out more!

 

 

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