Inclusive Leadership: Is it effective?

The 'commanding leader' is become increasingly less effective in the workplace. Read on to discover why Inclusive Leadership is becoming so popular.

Inclusive Leadership has been a popular topic in the HR world in recent years. But what comes to mind when you hear the term “leader”? You might think of someone commanding, someone who takes charge, someone sitting on a throne overlooking their congregation. This isn’t always the case. In fact, there are many different types of leaders and some methods of leadership are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum.


But what does it really mean to be an ‘Inclusive Leader’? You’ll find hundreds of blogs, dissertations, even published books on the topic. But, it’s been best summed up in a recent study by Harvard Business Review who found six particular traits that “distinguish inclusive leaders from others.”

These traits include Visible Commitment, Humility, Awareness of bias, Curiosity about others, Cultural Intelligence and Effective Collaborations.

In simpler terms, an Inclusive Leader is one who wants to accommodate everyone. They thrive on collaborating as a team and do their best to make sure everyone is a winner. Inclusive leaders genuinely care about their colleagues and encourage everyone to have their own voice and input their own ideas. It is more about the team’s success as opposed to the success of the leader.


Is it always good?

It’s important to note that no type of leadership is perfect. Yes, for the most part, Inclusive Leadership celebrates all the great things about being part of a team. For example, working as a collaboration to reach goals and truly caring about the vision of your team and your company. However, as notes, sometimes Inclusive Leaders can be “overly trusting leaders, who let others take advantage of their supportive, patient nature”.

This also means that Inclusive Leaders tend to be a bit more cautious – big changes or voicing concern could disrupt the harmony of the group and could mean that only a few get ahead instead of the team as a whole. This passiveness could lead to a delay in making important decisions. But does this actually hinder the success of the team rather than help?


How does Inclusive Leadership affect employees?

Let’s look at the stats shall we? Despite some of the suggested negatives that may result in Inclusive Leadership, there is research to suggest that it is actually very important for organisations. Going back to the Harvard Business Review, “Teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to report that they are high performing, 20% more likely to say they make high-quality decisions, and 29% more likely to report behaving collaboratively.”

What do you think?

It’s not hard to see why Inclusive Leadership is becoming the new norm. It makes employees feel as though their voice truly matters. But is the only problem a lack of assertiveness or is there more to it?

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