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The Key to Inclusive Leadership — Donna M. Hughes

I stumbled across an article published in Harvard Business Review, The Key to Inclusive Leadership, by Juliet Bourke and Andrea Titus. When it comes to the impact of inclusive leadership, this article echoed many of my beliefs and experiences.

It advises “…that what leaders say and do makes up to a 70% difference in whether an individual reports feeling included. And this really matters because the more people feel included, the more they speak up, go the extra mile, and collaborate — all of which ultimately lifts organizational performance.”

As an Executive Coach, I guide leaders to greater self-awareness and intentional leadership behaviors that improve business outcomes, as well as how they show up in their communities, and other aspects of their lives. Sometimes this means being willing to examine biases and address mistakes with humility (one of the 6 signature traits of inclusive leadership mentioned in the article).

Many leaders believe that letting down their guard is a sign of weakness that will negatively impact their credibility as a leader. On the contrary, I agree with the sentiments that “[h]umility encourages others to share their feedback…” and “…creates a sense of personal connection between leaders and a diverse set of stakeholders, making it easier to make and implement shared decisions.” Being self-aware in our actions, engagement and decision-making, is critical to our self-development as leaders, to the teams that we empower, and to the corporate cultures that we build.

When I announced that I would be leaving my Chief People Officer role to launch my executive coaching and consulting business, a fellow C-suite leader volunteered that as a consequence of my contributions to driving equity and inclusion, he was inspired to examine his own blind spots and challenge himself to be a better leader. This was one of the best parting gifts I could have ever received.

If you are curious about whether you’ve been an inclusive leader:

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