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How to Be an Inclusive Leader in 6 Steps

Teams of inclusive leaders perform better. Here are six steps to become an inclusive leader and the three behaviors they must demonstrate.

Leaders who create an inclusive culture for their teams see performance increased by 17 percent, decision-making quality boosted by 20 percent, and collaboration enhanced by 29 percent.

While more and more leaders are aware of the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive culture, many don’t know how to be an inclusive leader. As a speaker on generational workplace diversity, I experience first hand the challenges leaders have grasping inclusive leadership.

In my recent article, 6 Reasons to Be an Inclusive Leader <<LINK>>, I highlight growing trends that are driving the need for inclusive leadership. Inclusion is a new capability that leaders must fold into the other timeless leadership capabilities such as influencing, effective communication, vision casting, team building, etc.

Inclusive leaders not only embrace, value, and provide a sense of belonging to individuals, but they leverage individual differences as a competitive advantage.

In order for leaders to equip themselves with an inclusive capability, there are six questions that must be answered with a virtuous and resounding, “yes.”


6 Steps to Become an Inclusive Leader

1. Belief

2. Do you wholeheartedly believe everyone is created equal?

  1. Belief
    • Do you wholeheartedly believe everyone is created equal?
  2. Awareness
    • Are you aware of the conscious and unconscious biases you had (or have) towards others?
  3. Boldness
    • Are you honest with others about your shortcomings or misperceptions?
  4. Curiosity
    • Are you open to unlearning and relearning from others?
  5. Action
    • Are your behaviors and actions towards others aligned with your belief of equality?
  6. Commitment
    • Do you consistently hold yourself and others accountable to a culture of inclusion?

Inclusive behavior trumps inclusive programs.   In order to create and sustain a culture of inclusion, leaders must behave inclusively.

More specifically, employees feel included at work when they are…

  • Treated fairly
  • Appreciated for uniqueness
  • Provided a sense of belonging
  • Given decision-making voice

As a result, inclusive leaders should demonstrate these three daily behaviors…

  1. Treat every individual and group fairly
  2. Understand and value the uniqueness of individuals while including them as members of the group
  3. Tap into cognitive diversity for enhanced decision-making and risk reduction

Leaders who embrace diversity and inclusion will find themselves properly equipped to thrive in today’s increasingly diverse 21st-century workplace and marketplace.

Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies’ #1 asset, their people.

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