Diversity and Inclusion Are Key Ingredients to Successful Leadership

Diversity needs inclusive leadership to benefit your organization

Diversity and inclusivity in business matter. Why? Because the world is changing. Diversity brings forward people with different ideas, different opinions, and different perspectives. Inclusivity enables all these attributes to be present and flourish. If your leadership is not geared to both, if your strategy for workforce diversity in HRM doesn’t encompass inclusiveness, then your organization is likely to fall behind in the modern world.

How important is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Among the key findings of the UNC Leadership Survey 2016: Diversity Competencies for Leadership Development study was that:

  • 73.2% of companies recognize that attracting top talent is positively impacted by a culture of inclusivity
  • A positive attitude toward diversity improves employee retention (68.3%)
  • 59% believe that diversity and inclusion improve the customer experience
  • More than 95% agree that diversity is important to improving our bottom-line profits
  • More than 90% believe that a culture of inclusion is critical to future success

Little surprise then, that the same study also found that almost three quarters of organizations include diversity competencies in their leadership development programs.

What drives a leader’s ability to promote diversity and inclusiveness?

Understanding that a diverse range of opinions will enable the creation of more innovative ideas and solutions is only the first step to creating the workplace in which this happens. Leaders must empower inclusiveness by their actions, so that the organization can take advantage of the broad spectrum of a diverse workforce, and turn conflict into innovation.

Leaders must have a high level of emotional intelligence to ignore natural instincts to justify their position by employing people like them. New ideas and innovation exist because of challenges to the status quo. This only happens in which those new ideas exist and are encouraged to materialize.

Leaders who are good at diversity and inclusion tend to be those who have great self-awareness and social competency. They understand themselves and engage people to enable them to express differing viewpoints. They create an environment where people actively shun the natural instinct to withdraw to their place of comfort, instead encouraging them to share their thoughts, experiences, and innovative ideas.

What is diversity?

Diversity means many things to many people. It used to be that diversity was based on color or race. As the world is developing, we are learning that diversity cuts far deeper. It captures cultural differences created by background, education, religion, gender, sexual identity, and, of course, color and race. Truly diverse organizations don’t ignore these cultural distinctions. They identify them and embrace them.

Inclusive leaders don’t control, they engage

Leaders who embrace inclusion encourage collaboration in diverse workplaces. They get people talking and cooperating, discussing different ideas and creating collective goals. They engage their people with purpose and vision, creating a family by being seen as a partner rather than a boss.

They remain responsible and accountable and encourage accountability among their employees rather than engender a culture of blame. The result is a flow of ideas and a team that continues to perform beyond expectations.

When your strategy of workforce diversity in HRM includes inclusiveness at the leadership level, your leaders will be better positioned to lead through change in a VUCA world.

Contact us today, and discover how we could help your leaders and managers lead more effectively in an increasingly diverse and fast-paced market environment.

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