In this remote world of work, leading organizations and CEOs undoubtedly want employees who stay motivated and excited about their jobs. Leaders understand how this will enhance a culture of wellbeing, drive performance, and improve innovation. This is where inclusive leadership comes in. It endorses that leaders encourage diverse voices and fairness in the workplace.
To make this a reality, forward-thinking CEOs recognize they must buy-into inclusive leadership as a part of both their people strategy and business strategy. They can see that the gage has shifted to something that is forward-facing for leadership, a necessity for their brands and is becoming the sought-after performance training essential of leading organizations.
This insight is consistent with the research of Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends that inclusive leadership at the workplace is a CEO-level issue. Sixty-nine percent of executives rate diversity and inclusion an important issue (up from 59 percent in 2014). On building an inclusive culture, Bersin’s research reports organizations that have inclusive cultures are also twice as likely to meet or exceed their financial target.
Forward-Thinking CEOs Appreciate Inclusive Leadership
Inclusive leadership is not just a buzz expression but is an indispensable capability and the future of work for some major organizations. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook along with his other senior leaders launched their public support for workplace inclusion with their “Better Together” strategy. The company has reached over 10,000 employees with bias awareness training and continues its global rollout roadmap.
P&G Central Europe CEO and chairman of the board, Geraldine Huse is sold on workplace collaboration by not pushing back from disagreements and heated discussions in the workplace. Huse believes listening to people, understanding, and solving problems collectively, taking advantage of all the diverse experience is what makes an inclusive leader successful.
Terri Cooper, Deloitte’s Chief Inclusion Officer recognizes that being an inclusive leader is fundamental to their culture and believes that inclusive leadership is something that can be learned. She believes that the six inclusive character traits of commitment, collaboration, curiosity, cultural intelligence, courage, and cognizance provide a useful framework for people looking to build inclusive behaviors.
According to Deloitte, these traits enable leaders to operate more effectively within diverse markets, better connect with diverse customers, access a more diverse spectrum of ideas, and enable diverse individuals in the workforce to reach their full potential. Here’s how CEOs can cultivate behaviors that identify with inclusive leadership.
Be Commitment – Commit to diversity and inclusion. Hold others accountable and challenge how things stand. These objectives must align with your personal values — bringing together your mind and heart and making it a personal priority. Embrace inclusive leadership. It’s the future of work.
Be Collaborative. Empower your teams as well as create and leverage the thinking of diverse groups. Encourage your team to share their diverse perspectives. People will feel safe at being themselves if you stay considerate to their psychological safety.
Be Curious. Take an ongoing interest in the team’s lifestyle, demonstrating an open-mindedness and desire to understand how they view and experience the world. Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Inc. said, “Because with curiosity comes learning and new ideas, and in businesses that are changing very rapidly, if you’re not curious, you’re not learning, and you’re going to have a real problem.”
Be Culturally Intelligent. Highly inclusive leaders are confident and effective in cross-cultural interactions. Make it a point to be attentive to other’s cultures and adapt, as necessary. Deepen your cultural understanding and learn from the experience of working in an unfamiliar environment.
Be Courageous. Be visible and outspoken about why inclusive leadership is important both to you and to the growth of your organization. There’s plenty of research to back up your case. Push forward in seeking and hiring talent from a broader base of universities rather than only from the usual ones.
Be Cognizant. Be mindful of personal and organizational blind spots and biases. Subtle biases can negatively impact the way you see others and the decisions you make. These can be so ingrained that the behavior isn’t readily recognized. Practice self-awareness and set out to mitigate any unconscious bias.
Leaders who perfect their craft and display the ability leverage inclusive leadership behaviors will drive workplace performance and have a competitive advantage in the emerging markets.