As issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are becoming more important in our workplaces, many of us realize that we need to work even harder to become more effective, inclusive leaders.
Research recently reported in Harvard Business Review states that inclusive leaders share a cluster of six traits:
1. Visible Commitment. Demonstrate authentic commitment to diversity and inclusion. Challenge the status quo and make this a priority.
2. Humility. Be modest, admit mistakes, allow others to contribute to you.
3. Awareness of Bias. Openly admit that you have blind spots and biases – and that you are working to further your awareness.
4. Curiosity About Others. Seek with empathy to truly understand everyone.
5. Cultural Intelligence. Be attentive to others’ cultures and adapt as necessary.
6. Effective Collaboration. Empower others and focus on team cohesion.
Importantly, the research also reports that the key to improve starts with Awareness of Bias which is then coupled with Humility & Empathy.
Inclusive leaders opening and regularly talk about biases they know they have. They encourage others to point out when these biases may be showing.
They show humility by owning their vulnerability to biases. They demonstrate empathy by working to understand others deeply and leaving them feel heard.
Our differences can be a great strength to a team and organization. But it is not automatic. Leaders need to step up and work consistently to make sure that everyone knows they matter and feels they are heard. A team of people who all truly feel included can be powerful indeed.
*Ideas for this blog taken from: Bourke, J. & Espedido, A. “The Key to Inclusive Leadership,” Harvard Business Review online, March 6, 2021.