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Inclusive Leadership Model


The ILM is designed to deepen the understanding of this dynamic process and to highlight the best research practices that have influenced its development.


Diversity of markets, customers, ideas, and talent is driving the need for inclusion as a new leadership capability. Inclusive leadership is the practice of leadership that carefully includes the contributions of all stakeholders in the community or organization. Inclusion means being at the table at all levels of the organization, being a valued contributor and being fully responsible for your contribution to the ultimate result. Inclusive leadership creates an organizational culture that consistently produces results that benefit all of those stakeholders.

Signature traits of an Inclusive leader


Here are six attributes of leaders who display the ability to not only embrace individual differences, but to potentially leverage them for competitive advantage. Here are some suggested strategies to help organizations cultivate inclusive capabilities across their leadership population .


  • • Commitment : Highly inclusive leaders are committed to diversity and inclusion because these objectives align with their personal values and because they believe in the business case.
  • • Courage : Highly inclusive leaders speak up and challenge the status quo, and they are humble about their strengths and weaknesses.
  • • Cognizance of Bias : Highly inclusive leaders are mindful of personal and organizational blind spots, and self-regulate to help ensure “fair play.”
  • • Curiosity : Highly inclusive leaders have an open mindset, a desire to understand how others view and experience the world, and a tolerance for ambiguity.
  • • Culturally Intelligent : Highly inclusive leaders are confident and effective in cross-cultural interactions.
  • • Collaborative : Highly inclusive leaders empower individuals as well as create and leverage the thinking of diverse groups.


Just Be Good To People


As Mahatma Gandhi was believed to have said, “No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.” Exclusivity breeds exclusion, while inclusion fosters belonging and connection.
As companies embark to establish, sustain or change their culture, it is paramount to make sure inclusion is part of the overall strategic plan . Research indicates that people want to feel included, heard and valued, and they will go above and beyond if the essential need of belonging is met. If inclusion is not present, diversity may be achievable, but not sustainable. A lack of belonging adversely impacts an organization's bottom line through attrition , a surefire indication that your staff is primed to leave.
Inclusion and belonging are critically sought-after workplace attributes that are often not achieved due to leaders who inhibit inclusion through their actions. We need to understand that it’s not just diversity that matters, but diversity, inclusion, belonging and support is necessary at workplace.


The Inclusive Dimension of Leadership


Leaders tend to use one of eight dimensions of leadership primarily. Inclusive leaders are people-oriented, great listeners, able to tap into the talents and motivations of their teams. They are patient, understanding, soft-spoken, and genuinely interested in others. A preference for the familiar can keep this type of leader from initiating or embracing change. They are more comfortable with incremental changes that will minimize tension and uncertainty. They prefer to be cautious. Their need for status and achievement is lower than most. They might be competitive but not from a need for them to be on top. They want to see the group succeed


Commitment towards diversity and Inclusion


The model describes the essential elements of effective leadership and how those elements produce both Inclusive Leaders and Inclusive Organizations. Best practices for inclusive leadership development show that it is an ongoing effort incorporating learning, action and feedback as each organization discovers new ways to support the development of board, staff and program participants to become Inclusive Leaders actively participating in an Inclusive Organization . Inclusive leadership is effective leadership. Effective inclusive leadership development becomes indistinguishable from the culture of an organization. It is not separate from the activities that successful organizations undertake to translate an inspiring vision into successful results.


Mindset of Growth


Leaders need to have a mindset of growth and shouldn't be so wedded to ideas or approaches that aren't receptive to new ways. If I am a big believer in leading by example, then it’s incredibly important that as a leader, I practice what I preach and lead with the spirit of inclusion. Becoming an inclusive leader is not rocket science; it’s actually quite the opposite. It starts with the old adage, “Treat others as you’d like to be treated” .

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