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A commitment to diversity and challenging the status quo is a good place to start, but what else do you need to be an inclusive leader?

Most managers want to be known and remembered for being a good leader. Part of being a good leader is to be an inclusive one. Take a look at what inclusive leaders look like and how you can become one.

What is Inclusive Leadership?

Inclusive leadership is being able to effectively lead a group of people in an empathetic way and building a positive culture of diversity and inclusion. Inclusive leaders are aware of their own biases and seek out different perspectives to help shape their decision making.

Traits of an Inclusive Leader

Find out what you need to be made of to be an effective inclusive leader.

Good Collaborator

Someone who listens to everyone on the team rather than just the leadership team is more likely to take a wide range of experiences into consideration and value the perspective that everyone brings. Good decisions are made after considering a multitude of voices.

Emotional Intelligence

Good leaders are intelligent but great leaders are emotionally intelligent as well. They can empathise and communicate effectively with others. A high EQ means a leader is aware of their behaviours and motives, they can self-regulate and use their developed social skills to listen and resolve conflict.

Cultural Intelligence

A culturally aware leader is conscious of their culturally shaped values and beliefs. They start conversations with people from different cultural backgrounds out of interest in the person and to ensure that they’re culturally aware.

Encourage Growth

An inclusive leader understands that people work differently and that everyone should be encouraged to speak up with their ideas. Inclusive leaders are fair in providing subordinates with good opportunities to grow and reach their potential.

Providing a Psychologically Safe Organisation

An inclusive leader ensures the workplace is a safe and positive one for everyone including minority groups. It’s harmful to employ people from diverse backgrounds only to find the culture of the organisation makes it difficult to work there or to have a voice. 

How to Become an Inclusive Leader

Adopting some or all four of these attributes can help make a strong inclusive leader.

#1 Ask Questions

The best way to learn is by asking questions and talking to people. If you don’t know much about a minority group, get informed. Do some research before starting up a conversation in order to get more detailed, first-hand experience. Ask people who are different to you for their ideas and feedback. Think about how you can use the feedback to aid in improving the culture of the organisation and doing things differently.

#2 Be Willing to Make Changes 

Increasing diversity within the organisation isn’t just a numbers game. You need to fill influential positions with people from minority groups rather than the junior roles. However, a good inclusive leader will also make it possible for an individual from an under-represented group to learn and be promoted to a role that allows them to have a louder voice and more influence.

#3 Find a Mentor

For many managers, inclusive leadership doesn’t come naturally. If they haven’t come from an under-represented group, it can be difficult to know what to think or act to make the necessary changes. If you have identified someone who you consider to be an ideal inclusive leader within your organisation or outside, try to emulate their success. If possible, ask them to be your mentor or find out what you can about their success.

#4 Don’t Give Up

Some people may not agree with your direction. Be sure you can justify each decision on merit and not favour. Remind yourself that you’re making the changes for the long-term benefit of the organisation and the people who work there. Change can be difficult in any organisation.

Ask for Help

Workplace managers and supervisors can gain access to our clinical and organisationally-trained psychologists for support in dealing with the mental health, resilience and wellbeing of their employees through our Manager Assistance Program.

Contact Altius Group on 1800 258 487 or get in contact online.