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What Is Inclusive Leadership?

By: Jessica MousseauDiversity Insights
What is Inclusive Leadership?

To invoke societal change, we must aim for diverse and inclusive organizations, and that means having inclusive leadership. For organizations, this isn’t just the right thing to do, but it’s also a smart move. Research has proven that diverse and inclusive workplaces significantly outperform those that are not.

While many have tried to achieve this goal, many have failed. Diversity and inclusion should be implemented into every facet of your organization – from recruiting and interviewing to hiring and retention. Many businesses falter when it comes to inclusive leadership, an area that can be improved with intentional efforts.

Inclusive Leadership Definition

Inclusive leadership is a style of leadership that actively seeks to include and value diverse perspectives and backgrounds. It’s about recognizing and appreciating differences in team members, whether those differences are in culture, gender, age, sexual orientation, or other areas.

Inclusive Leader Traits

Inclusive leaders recognize and embrace diversity, build trust and foster a sense of belonging. They take the view of others into account in decision-making. This not only makes them more effective leaders, but also inspires those around them to want to do the same too.

Having an inclusive leader helps organizations to attract the best talent. This is vital to the success of any organization as different perspectives provide valuable insights into various customer segments, especially underrepresented ones.

Additionally, inclusive leadership has the ability to unlock the potential in every team member, which creates a culture of understanding where everyone can grow and thrive.

Inclusive leaders demonstrate an acute awareness of personal biases, cultural sensitivity, empathy, and courage in challenging norms.

What Does a Culture of Understanding Look Like?

When you create this sense of belonging at work, you allow your staff to:

  • Feel free to be themselves
  • Offer the ability for everyone to be accepted
  • Reassure everyone there are opportunities to grow with the company as a whole
  • Believe that everyone’s opinions and ideas are valid and important

Inclusive leadership helps underrepresented people understand that they can take ownership of their careers. By giving them the proper tools needed to grow, they are more likely to stay and thrive in your organization.

Making Your Staff Feel Comfortable

Inclusive leaders invest time in learning about every employee. Acknowledging them as individuals allows them to feel supported. When you practice cultural competency, you help your team feel more comfortable, which boosts morale and productivity.

By opening up channels of communication, you may be able to identify and address areas for improvement, and even discover unconscious biases that you or any staff member may have.

Learn More How A Diverse and Inclusive Staff And Leadership Can Benefit Your Business

When you create inclusive leadership roles at your organization, you will see results in your team’s performance. Are you ready to foster inclusive leadership? Explore our Diversity and Inclusion Training courses to empower your team to thrive in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.


What does inclusive leadership mean?

An inclusive leader is someone who is aware of their own biases and works to seek out different perspectives to inform their influence in society or in an organization. This approach creates an environment where all team members feel valued and understood, encouraging them to contribute their unique insights. Inclusive leadership also involves actively creating opportunities for diverse voices to be heard and respected, further enhancing team cohesion and innovation.

What are 3 important leadership traits of inclusive leaders?

Some great traits to have as an inclusive leader are empathy, resilience, and humility. Empathy allows leaders to connect with their team members on a personal level, understanding their experiences and perspectives. Resilience is key in navigating challenges and driving change, while humility enables leaders to acknowledge their limitations and learn from others, promoting a culture of continuous improvement and mutual respect.

What are the best examples of inclusive leadership?

Some of the best examples are those in recruitment who mandate having a diverse candidate pool for their company or who work hard to embed diversity and inclusion efforts into their workplace. Leaders who prioritize inclusion in decision-making processes and policy development also set a strong example, as they demonstrate the value of diverse perspectives in achieving business objectives. Additionally, leaders who advocate for and implement mentorship programs for underrepresented groups contribute to building a more inclusive and equitable work environment.

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