How Do We Develop Inclusive Leaders?

Building a culture of inclusion in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a mustdo. Inclusive workplaces are key to optimising the health and wellbeing of your team. A workplace lacking inclusivity has the potential to deter top talent, harbour discrimination, normalises inequity and has a direct impact on the mental health of individuals.

Leading with an inclusion mindset and/or having inclusive conversations is a learnt skill that people can develop over time. Here are some ways leaders can further develop themselves and the skills they need to role model inclusive practices for their teams and foster inclusive workplace cultures.  

Develop self-awareness  

Inclusive leaders need to be self-aware and recognise their own biases and assumptions. This involves reflecting on personal experiences and beliefs, in order to understand how they may impact interactions with others. 

Education about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) 

Inclusive leaders need to have a basic understanding of DEI issues. This involves learning about topics such as unconscious bias, microaggressions, and privilege, and understanding how they impact the workplace, especially as you foster an inclusive culture. 

Build empathy and awareness  

Inclusive leaders need to build empathy and awareness for people from different backgrounds and experiences. This involves actively listening to others, seeking out different perspectives, and developing empathy for those who may have had different experiences than you. 

Communicate inclusively

Inclusive leaders communicate in a way that is respectful and avoids stereotypes or assumptions. This involves using language that is inclusive and creates a safe space for others to share their thoughts and experiences. 

Build diverse teams 

Inclusive leaders actively seek out diversity in their teams. This can involve hiring practices that prioritise diversity or fostering an inclusive environment that encourages diverse perspectives and ideas. 

Hold yourself and others accountable 

Inclusive leaders hold themselves and others accountable for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This involves setting goals, tracking progress, and seeking feedback from others. 

Lead by example  

Inclusive leaders’ model inclusive behaviours and values. This involves actively seeking out diverse perspectives, using inclusive language, and taking a stand against discriminatory behaviour. 

Becoming an inclusive leader is an always-on commitment. It’s an invaluable skill that will continue to serve you as a leader, through any type of situation. By developing these skills, leaders can create a workplace culture that is inclusive and supportive for everyone. 


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