Thought Leadership

The Fundamentals For Driving Inclusive Leadership

The growing voices for social and economic equality are no longer limited to individuals alone, as organizations have also started partaking in it. From corporates to non-profits, there’s an increasing response aimed at denouncing racism, and inequality and pledging commitment towards better equity, inclusiveness, and diversity. According to a report by McKinsey, many employees don’t feel included in their organizations despite measures being taken, which has, in turn, had a significant impact on the attrition rate.

If this feeling of non-inclusiveness is not curbed at the nascent stage, it can result in mass resignations worldwide, similar to the Great Resignation being witnessed in the USA currently. This is where inclusive leadership can play a significant role. As an inclusive leader, If you’re struggling to lay a strong, inclusive leadership foundation in your organization, the following tips can serve as your guiding star.


1. Identifying Employees’ Needs

When you regularly interact with a diverse workforce, you open yourself to new information and reinvention that reveal your employee’s needs. As a  leader, you need to realize that your workplace isn’t a level playing field for all employees. Once you realize this and take cognizance of your own individual and company’s weakness or knowledge gaps, you will be better equipped to take concrete actions that make opportunities more accessible to all employees.  

Take Goldman Sachs, for example; they have a unique program in place to hire more people with autism to boost diversity. The investment bank has an eight-week paid internship for not just people with autism but people with other neurological differences, including dyslexia, mental health conditions, ADHD, and other developmental disorders. Goldman Sachs gives the chosen individuals on-the-desk’ work experience and hires industry-leading neurodiversity experts to help them identify and prepare candidates for the program. These efforts alone have resulted in Goldman Sachs retaining a significant number of employees.  


2. Invest Resources In Inclusion

As a leader, you should know that building an inclusive workplace culture requires a thoughtful investment of resources. According to a study, nearly 75% of employees from underrepresented groups like women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, and other employees believe they haven’t personally benefited from their organization’s diversity and inclusion programs. This research highlights that leaders need to understand the importance of narrowing the gap between intentions and actions. If you’re in an authoritative role, you have to identify the specific steps you can take to drive more meaningful equity, diversity, and inclusion, given their particular challenges and experiences. 

Every top management executive can learn from Hubspot in this regard. Hubspot offers a vast array of programs to ensure all employees feel accepted in the company. They even have a special Women Hubspot Employee Resource Group meant to empower, inspire, and support women from all departments and backgrounds at their offices. It is just one of the many reasons why Hubspot was named the best workplace for women by Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE.


3. Lead With Courageous Vulnerability

As an inclusive leader, you have to be self-aware of your own and the organization’s limitations, improving yourself in areas you’re lacking. To foster an environment of inclusiveness within your organization, you will have to make the employees feel empowered.

If you identify any employee feeling vulnerable, make them feel in control and valuable by arranging 1-to-1 talks, workshops, or specialized training. Once the employees learn to face their vulnerabilities courageously with the organization’s aid, they’re less likely to leave the organization for another. Take Winston Churchill, for example. He was vocal about his depression and took refuge in his creative-depressive personality. By expressing his vulnerability, he empowered his nation, who were dealing with similar sentiments, finding their creative expressions, and is now known for the vital role he played in guiding Britain and its allies to defeat Germany in the Second World War.


Pat Wadors right says, “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become wiser, more inclusive, and better as an organization.”