What makes people feel included in an organization? In addition to being treated fairly, they feel valued and belong to the company. This consists of the organization’s mission, policies, and practices.

Most of the time, it comes down to how leaders do their job. What a leader says and does can make a huge difference. In addition to being treated fairly, people feel valued and belong to the company.

The Characteristics of an Inclusive Leader

Inclusive leadership is a critical capability that organizations can use to adapt to the changes brought about by diverse customers, markets, and talent. According to a study, inclusive leaders share characteristics that help them lead effective teams. These characteristics are visible commitment, humility, awareness of bias, curiosity about others, cultural intelligence, and effective collaboration. 

One of the most important characteristics people can identify with a leader is their awareness of bias. Seeing a leader’s bias can make them feel more inclusive.

Demonstrating Inclusive Leadership

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate inclusive leadership is by establishing a personal advisory board (PAD) composed of people close to the leader. These individuals can give leaders feedback on their daily interactions, which can help them make informed decisions about making their teams more inclusive.

One of the most important questions that people can ask a leader is if they use a wide variety of imagery when talking about diversity. For instance, if the leader talks about inclusiveness while addressing a diverse audience, do they use imagery that only represents one group? Having a personal advisory board can help leaders continuously monitor their progress.

Another strategy that leaders can use to demonstrate their commitment to being more inclusive is sharing their learning journey about addressing and recognizing biases. They can discuss their 360 assessment results or hold a town hall meeting. During these meetings, they can also create a standing item that they can use to talk about their progress on being more inclusive.

These actions show humility, a vital component of being an inclusive leader. It can help leaders develop their role models and insights in addressing biases.

Another strategy that leaders can use to demonstrate their commitment to being more inclusive is by immersing themselves in new and uncomfortable situations. For instance, they can attend an employee resource group meeting or sit in different parts of the office each week. Exposure and open-ended questions can help leaders develop new ideas and expand their horizons.

Being an inclusive leader is very important to ensure that employees have the opportunity to develop their diverse thinking skills. Unfortunately, several leaders do not have the necessary confidence in their ability to lead and challenge the status quo.

Awareness of one’s blind spots is fundamental to self-development, but it is also not enough to be isolated. Leaders need to develop their perspective and humility on their own biases. This can be done through the development of a circle of learning.

Accepting criticism and criticism about their own biases is very important for leaders to develop their humility and empathy. This can help them build their perspective and make others feel more included. Besides being open to criticism, these behaviors can also help leaders develop their inner peace.