As the global market rapidly expands, so does a desire for highly inclusive leaders that welcome change rather than resist it.
Highly inclusive leaders embrace change by building teams cohesive yet diverse in culture, talent, and ideas.
Diverse groups are a force to be reckoned with as they can meet and exceed the unique needs of an ever-changing market.
Inclusive leaders seek and welcome diversity in every person they work alongside, including but not limited to other employees, customers, and stakeholders.
Such leaders practice flexibility and self-awareness to ensure each person feels valued, heard, and safe enough to share their different perspectives.
Through a comprehensive literature review and several interviews with inclusive leaders across the globe, Deloitte Insight identified six signature traits of inclusive leaders, also known as the 6 Cs of inclusive leadership.
Inclusive leaders are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. Their commitment is intrinsic and unwavering as it stems from personal values and trust in an inclusive business case.
Leaders dedicated to inclusion:
Not only is a committed, highly inclusive leader crucial to fostering a healthy workplace culture, but it’s also necessary for business success.
The digital world makes new thoughts easier to share and more accessible than ever, resulting in constantly changing market trends.
Hence, the need for a team full of diverse perspectives, ideas, and abilities capable of addressing current demands.
Creating a diverse team and inclusive work environment is impossible without courageous leadership and management.
Highly inclusive leaders display courage by challenging the status quo, their colleagues, and even themselves. To do so, they utilize bold yet respectful questioning.
Here’s what that looks like in action:
Perhaps the most evident trait of a courageous leader is humility. Courageous leaders adopt a posture that indicates they are open to respectful questioning from others.
Of the six traits of inclusive leadership, cognizance of bias may be the most important. Becoming hyper-aware of and concerned for blind spots you and an organization may have, lays the groundwork imperative to inclusive leadership.
Blind spots lead to deep-rooted and unconscious biases that may even require executive coaching to manage.
While everyone carries unconscious biases, learning to recognize and take responsibility for them fosters permanent change.
Unconscious biases within the workplace include:
Organizational biases narrow when employees practice self-regulation and fair play.
Self-regulating leaders recognize what prompts their biases and take careful measures to avoid falling under their influence.
Fair leaders make merit-based and evidence-backed choices regarding talent and transparently communicate with employees affected by said decisions.
In 2013, the Center for Creative Leadership conducted a study that identified rapid organizational change as one of the most significant challenges leaders within the workforce could expect to face.
Their predictions were accurate. In 2018, MIT released a study that showed businesses that viewed the global market's rapid change as a means for innovation rather than a means of fear are more successful.
Curiosity is the single most important trait a leader needs to remain competitive within their industry.
Curious leaders rely on their colleagues' different ideas and talents to find solutions they cannot find alone.
Curious leadership behaviors consist of:
Curious leaders typically display a high level of cultural intelligence, as well.
Culturally intelligent leaders don’t view their own culture as superior or inherently right in a business case. Instead, they leverage the perspectives of the various cultures on their team.
However, cultural awareness extends past leveraging different perspectives. Inclusive leaders have an authentic desire to learn more about other cultures.
They display this desire by:
Such charismatic leadership builds a team’s rapport, so employees feel safe enough to contribute.
Becoming culturally adept doesn’t only improve the working environment, but it also enhances the relationships you have across your industry and opens new doors.
An inclusive leader builds collaborative teams secure enough to bounce pure yet respectful ideas off one another.
Too many work teams fall under autocratic leadership, allowing a single person to dominate the decision-making process.
Some employees may even believe they think too diversely to share, but that kind of thinking is likely what got them hired.
Leaders can replace unproductive efforts with effective collaboration by understanding their team's diverse thinking styles.
For instance, some people are extroverted, and others are introverted. Some team members process internally, while others verbalize every thought they have.
An inclusive leader seeks ways to foster environments that provide each thinking style the chance to share. Here's how:
Did you know that 74 percent of millennials, the largest generation within the workforce, believe successful innovations stem from inclusive work cultures? The same article reveals that a diverse team generates more money.
The global market not only values but demands diversity. Therefore, the greatest influence in leadership you'll ever find is when you prioritize just that—diversity of culture, talent, and thought.