Our Insights

Inclusive Leaders:

Different from all the rest?

In a world where theories of leadership abound, how do you know which approaches or styles of leadership work for your organisation? Many explanations of leadership claim to be distinct, describing different theories, but actually overlap. When these theories aim to explain ‘ideal’ leadership behaviours, good leaders are expected to be inspiring, honest, make decisions in the interest of the group and communicate those decisions effectively.

How do inclusive leaders differ from other styles of leadership? Inclusive leaders blend transformational and authentic leadership. Authentic leaders encourage their followers to be true to themselves, make decisions based on personal and organisational values and to be give honest feedback. Transformational leaders (like Richard Branson, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr) are those leaders known for motivating, influencing and supporting their employees and followers to reach and extend their personal goals (e.g. being bold, brave and disruptive) aligned with a broader, social and organisational vision (e.g. innovation, legacy, human rights). While authentic leaders help their followers strive for more and better ‘in here’ individually, by focusing on self-development and self-awareness, transformational leaders help people strive for more, effective change and a better future ‘out there’. Inclusive leaders encourage members to bring their full, authentic selves to work and actively promote how this diversity creates an advantage for personal and organisational goal attainment through building inclusive cultures.

Inclusive leadership is increasingly being recognised as the key differentiator for leaders in contemporary organisations. Today we are working with more heterogenous groups – across generations, across time zones, and across societies and backgrounds. Inclusive leaders bring every one of these people on board with them. Although there are similarities between authentic leadership, transformational leadership and inclusive leadership, inclusive leaders bring a unique differentiator – they foster a culture of acceptance and belongingness. With the increasing demographic diversity of the workforce, inclusive leaders play an important role in ensuring that diverse talent, insights and perspectives are involved, recognised, promoted and retained.

Developing inclusive leadership

Based on academic research, three common themes emerge to develop inclusive leaders:

Advantages of inclusive leadership for the business:

Contact to us to hear more about our evidence-based approach to developing inclusive leaders. Our expert facilitators create powerful safe learning spaces for leaders to understand why inclusion is personally meaningful, for peers to have courageous conversations about culture change and give you the tools and knowledge you need to be advocates and allies.