What is inclusive leadership?
Long gone are the days when homogeneous corporate drones follow their blustery CEO around the boardroom, nodding and smiling. Corporate cultures are changing so rapidly that it can be hard to keep up. Inclusive leadership requires the ability to adapt quickly.
A palpable shift we commonly see in the corporate entity is the push for companies to be as inclusive and multi-dimensional as possible when it comes to staffing. Being an inclusive leader is imperative if you’re going to stay relevant and solvent in this new paradigm.
So much of the time, as leaders, we try to carry the burden of running an organization all on our own shoulders, or we turn to a very select few. This narrow vision and limited viewpoint can create a corporate culture filled with tension and resentment. The terrible thing is that most leaders aren’t intentionally UN-inclusive, many of them are just oblivious to the fact that it’s even an issue at all.
Take off the corporate mask
Employees don’t want a stoic leader, nor do they want to have to appear like that to you. They want someone who is real, authentic, and who cares about them as people.
The detriment of being ignorant to the needs and wants of a diverse corporate population will show itself in several ways: a toxic corporate culture, high turnover, an inability to attract top talent, or a plummeting bottom line. The failure to become an inclusive leader can be one of the major supporting factors to these symptoms within your company.
As your team becomes increasingly disengaged due to what they feel is a lack of genuine caring and consideration of them as people, frustration builds on all sides. As communication breakdowns become more and more common, passive aggression becomes the name of the game for many. We’ve all seen a toxic corporate environment like this, and none of us have ever been excited to go into it.
Inclusive leadership isn’t just about integrating people with different ethnic backgrounds, political views, personal preferences, or economic scenarios.
It’s about getting your diverse team to work together in a harmonious and efficient way for the betterment of all while accomplishing the tasks at hand.
For example, your company has a new product launch goal looming on the not-too-distant horizon. The success of this endeavor relies on multiple factors::
Research and Development need to define the product and perform all the needed studies to demonstrate its efficacy and safety to a specific patient population.
Marketing needs to come up with a strategy to market the product and, ultimately, a campaign to effectively promote it.
Regulatory needs to file all the necessary documentation with applicable agencies where the product is intended to be sold, ensuring all the boxes are checked to meet their expectations to show the efficacy and safety of the new product.
Quality Control needs to have its testing, specifications, and procedures approved and ready to guarantee that your product is consistent and delivers on promises of quality and reliability.
Production needs to ensure all necessary equipment is in place, and all raw materials are in-house, and then turn out an acceptable finished product on the table.
Non-Inclusive Leaders see each of these steps as potential roadblocks.
What does it mean to be an inclusive leader?
Since it’s a relatively new term, it’s okay if you aren’t really sure how to be an inclusive leader. Don’t worry, we’ve got you.
First and foremost, an inclusive leader exudes an authentic and genuine commitment to their team. Acknowledging and appreciating your team’s diversity and realizing that every member brings something different to the table is a key component of inclusion. In addition, you encourage open dialogue and empower other team members to take on greater responsibility and decision-making in order to grow and evolve.
You show a real curiosity and open mind when it comes to learning more about your team members and what is important to them. You welcome different viewpoints and perspectives, knowing that a varied approach can totally revolutionize a procedure or product, pushing your company further forward.
Inclusive leaders offer humility and know that it’s okay to acknowledge their shortcomings and biases. Acknowledging to both yourself and your team that you have blind spots in your business and flaws in your systems is the first step to overcoming them.
Inclusive leaders are authentic leaders
In a previous blog post, we discussed the importance of allowing yourself to be the most authentic and genuine version of yourself you can be in order to lead your team to success. Your team wants to follow you when they believe you are real and authentic; they want to do a great job for you and with you.
For more on our ideas on Authentic Leadership, click here. We are here to help you be the absolute best version of yourself and to be or become the type of leader that people are passionate about supporting. Subscribe to our blog for more on Inclusive and Authentic Leadership styles, or feel free to reach out to us to see how we can help you blow through those roadblocks and take back a sense of fulfillment and excitement in your company.