The Traits of Inclusive Leaders

posted on Thu, Sep 26 2013 8:23 am by Shirley Engelmeier

Few would argue that in a global, multi-cultural and increasingly diverse world, there is a need for inclusive leaders to help organizations succeed. It's been decades since we lived in a world where "one size fits all" and organizations could produce products that audiences were compelled to buy because there were no other options. The Internet has opened up channels of communication that have rapidly expanded competitive boundaries. Can't find it locally? Go online and find it in the next town, state, region—or country. These massive changes require a different style of leadership: inclusive leadership.

Inclusive leadership hasn't been widely taught (yet) in colleges or universities. And, "legacy leaders" around the country continue to exhibit old-style traits and attitudes of leadership—most notably "command and control," the idea that they call the shots and those around them do their bidding. That style of leadership simply doesn't work today. Why?

  • Because the new generation entering the workforce—Gen Y—doesn't respond well to command and control. They don't feel tied down to any one job or any one leader. They're increasingly mobile and both ready and willing to move on if the job is not a good fit.
  • Because the global economy creates a highly competitive environment in which consumers have multiple choices and can look for—and purchase—innovative products at price points that are increasingly driving down margins. Innovation is the name of the game.
  • Because technology is making products and services obsolete at an amazing pace; companies, more than ever, must "adapt, migrate, mutate or die."

What does all of this mean? It means that the leaders of today and tomorrow must develop inclusive leadership skills to survive and thrive. What are those skills? We have a very good idea of what it takes to lead effectively in this environment. But, we'd like to hear from you. What are the traits of the inclusive leaders you've encountered?


Are you tired of workplace diversity training that does not link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has inclusion training solutions and strategic consulting that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention; moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.


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