The paper examines the concept of inclusive leadership in contemporary organizational environments. Some of the common characteristics of inclusive leadership discussed in the paper include courage, commitment, collaboration, cultural intelligence, cognizance of the existing biases. According to the paper, skills such as the development of a unique understanding of the specific corporate values and core priorities can transform inclusive leaders into efficient and productive players in a company. The paper further discusses the implications of the leadership model on organizational communication and organizational effectiveness and competitiveness. Lastly, the paper examines the perceived influence of inclusive leadership on other models.
Benchmark – Inclusive Leadership
Presently, most entities are increasingly becoming diverse, with employees from different demographic backgrounds. In essence, leading such diverse groups of employees can be a daunting experiencing, especially if the leadership ignores the dynamics of cross-cultural differences (Randall, 2012). Inclusive leadership should make all employees feel included and fairly treated in their workplaces. The leaders must focus on promoting diversity on their teams, with the primary objective of improving their capacity to be innovative and eliminate uncertainties. Accordingly, the paper provides a comprehensive review and analysis of inclusive leadership, fundamental skills, and essential characteristics that can influence the creation of organizational cultures. Finally, the paper provides a discussion on the specific roles of inclusive leadership in the global environment and other important related research findings. Overall, inclusive leaders tend to be people-oriented, great listeners, effective communicators, adept motivators, understanding, and genuinely interested in their employees’ challenges and welfare.
Inclusive Leadership Characteristics
The description and approaches to inclusive leadership tend to vary globally. However, inclusive leaders must depict specific and discrete characteristics and qualities to succeed in their varied endeavors.
Figure 1: Traits of inclusive leadership
In particular, the following are some explanations of the stipulated behaviors that inclusive leaders should portray to encourage and sustain diversity in their organizations.
- Commitment: Inclusive leaders should take time and energy to cultivate a diverse and all-encompassing workplace environment. They should show strong beliefs on their values and deep-seated sense of fairness by implementing a welcoming and appreciative culture. More importantly, the leaders should show the commitment to inspire passion and goal attainment among the diverse workforces.
- Courage: An inclusive leader should exhibit the courage to challenge or eliminate deep-rooted organizational attitudes and practices that discourage diversity. While some of these recommendations may be unpopular, inclusive leaders should acknowledge such personal limitations and subjective perceptions without compromising their values and beliefs on a diverse team.
- Cognizance of prejudice or favoritism: Inclusive leaders should develop a clear understanding that any personal and organizational prejudice may narrow their desire for an objective and all-encompassing workplace. Thus, they should direct more efforts towards the identification and elimination of such biases that may stifle diversity and inclusion. Notably, without such measures, inclusive leaders may fail to attain their overall goals and objectives, especially in an increasingly diverse business environment.
- Cultural intelligence: Inclusive leaders should depict cognitive, motivational, and behavioral capacities to comprehend and efficiently respond to diverse beliefs, values, and attitudes in their workplaces to effect desired changes. In particular, cultural intelligence describes a leader’s innate ability to relate and work effectively with people across different cultures. For example, a culturally intelligent leader should be an extrovert, capable of demonstrating efforts to show restraints, modesty, and humility while engaging other people.
- Collaborative and curiosity: Inclusive leaders should understand the inherent need for a collaborative approach to organizational issues. In particular, these leaders should allow their subordinates to share their perspectives or viewpoints without unfair judgment or prejudice. A collaborative approach to leadership can also reduce team conflicts and strengthen relationships between members. Similarly, inclusive leaders should be flexible or open-minded, with a strong desire to generate and apply diverse ideas. The hunger or desire for other people’s perspectives can help the leaders to become rational decision-makers. Overall, inclusive leaders should avoid unfair or fast judgments and ensure effective communication and interactions based on respect and indulgence.
Leadership Skills Required to Create an Inclusive Organizational Culture
Organizational culture describes systems of shared assumptions, value systems, and innate beliefs governing people’s behaviors in organizations. These shared behaviors can have a strong influence on individuals within and outside an organization (Hollander, 2012). Inculcating any organizational culture in an organization requires the employees to understand specific corporate values and core priorities. Accordingly, inclusive leaders require various skills to help them create an all-encompassing organizational culture in their entities (Randel, Galvin, Shore, Ehrhart, Chung, Dean, & Kedharnath, 2018). For instance, the leaders should walk the talk about inclusivity by modeling and practicing the behavior. Specifically, they should also participate in the formal and informal development of inclusive environments. Instead of leading by authority and control, inclusive leaders should rely on exerting a positive influence on their subordinates. Another critical skill is the unique ability to understand their employees’ organizational expectations by taking the direct responsibility of meeting their varied needs (Chin, Desormeaux, & Sawyer, 2016). Inclusive leaders should also have the ability to develop and apply the lens of diversity through fair recruitment and promotion policies. Increased transparency in professional assignments and promotions can help employers to become mindful of their employees’ welfare. Overall, inclusive leaders should practice openness and a strict focus on goal attainment.
How Inclusive Leadership Influences Decision-Making in Organizations
Inclusive leadership can influence pertinent decision-making in organizational environments. For instance, these leaders can influence the full participation and application of the intellectual power and influence of their employees. Through such collective diversity of thought patterns, inclusive leaders can listen to their team members’ diverse perspectives and make rational decisions (Hollander, 2012). The leadership can also encourage mutual understanding towards the achievement of set goals and the elimination of biases. The teams can vet, assess, and brainstorm the validity of potential solutions. In essence, the direct involvement of other team members in the decision-making process can encourage the development of inclusive solutions. Lastly, inclusive leaders can generate shared responsibility through fair participation in the thinking processes and the implementation of shared action plans.
How Inclusive Leadership Influences Organizational Communication in a Global Environment
Organizational leadership can help the employees to understand expectations and common goals. Specifically, it entails creating and exchanging information, working with a diverse group, and developing viable solutions to complicated and changing situations. Notably, inclusive leadership simply implies listening to everyone within the organization based on a comprehensive communication system. Through such communication processes, leaders should be eloquent in displaying their unique skills and interaction with people. As effective communicators, inclusive leadership should see things from multiple perspectives and a global mindset, encapsulating many cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking (Chin et al., 2016). Inclusive leaders can also create and maintain open communication between different stakeholders, such as team members from diverse demographic environments. Besides, leaders can create opportunities for team members to display their unique skills and abilities. More importantly, inclusive leadership should promote effective and efficient feedback to allow the proper integration of employees’ varied perceptions or perspectives.
How Inclusive Leadership Influences Organizational Effectiveness and Competitiveness in a Global Environment
Organizational effectiveness refers to the promotion of operational efficiency within an entity. Leadership, communication, accountability, and performance are some of the important conditions and components necessary for supporting organizational effectiveness. Notably, inclusive leadership implies the application of various behaviors or practices that can incorporate the views of all their followers. In particular, the application of inclusive leadership can promote a comprehensive understanding of various cross-cultural issues and processes (Hollander, 2012). When inclusive leadership functions effectively, organizational performances are likely to improve. For example, an inclusive leader can communicate clarity, engage the employees in decision-making, build strong accountability, and promote strict alignment to organizational decisions.
Inclusive leadership can also promote competitiveness in the global environment. Notably, organizational competitiveness refers to an entity’s ability to create more competing values in an industry. The term also relates to a company’s continuous presence in the market, and adaptation to the changing consumption demands (Hollander, 2012). Inclusive leaders can promote such organizational commitment through various strategies. For instance, leaders can facilitate efficient and straightforward processes that are responsive to global trends. The leaders can optimize the operational performances of their employees by building and sustaining their future professional capabilities and capacities (Randel et al., 2018). Overall, inclusive leaders should provide a platform for their subordinates to contribute to the decision-making processes.
Discussion of the Effectiveness of Inclusive Leadership in Relation to Other Leadership Models
Inclusive leadership relates to other leadership models, such as transformational leadership and collaborative leadership. For instance, under both transformational and inclusive leadership approaches, leaders are willing and ready to work with teams to identify the desired changes, create visions to guide change, and implement the change in tandem with other members (Anderson & Sun, 2017). Besides, both collaborative and inclusive leadership emphasize the functional relationship between managers and employees. The two leadership models can encourage leaders to cooperate with the primary aim of accomplishing shared goals and objectives (Anderson & Sun, 2017). The models also promote the handling of conflicts constructively and sharing control over organizational decisions.
In conclusion, inclusive leaders are indeed people-oriented, great listeners, and capable of tapping into the talents and motivations of the team members. More importantly, inclusive leadership is crucial because it can influence the implementation of diverse thinking and effective communication within an organization. Thus, global leaders should increase their reliance on inclusive leadership model to solve some of the significant challenges they face. Some of these problems include potentially disruptive cross-cultural differences that can have adverse impacts on organizational performances and productivity. Overall, inclusive leaders should be mindful of socio-cultural biases and cultural intelligence, among other vital traits to create and sustain an inclusive organizational culture.
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Randel, A. E., Galvin, B. M., Shore, L. M., Ehrhart, K. H., Chung, B. G., Dean, M. A., & Kedharnath, U. (2018). Inclusive leadership: Realizing positive outcomes through belongingness and being valued for uniqueness. Human Resource Management Review, 28(2), 190-203.