12 Critical Traits of Inclusive Leaders: How Many Have You Mastered?

After a confrontational presidential election and the recent inauguration of the nation’s 45th president, employees have flooded their leaders with questions about diversity and inclusion efforts.

According to a post-election article in Bloomberg (Nov. 11, 2016), some CEOs — instead of trying to respond to specific questions about potential actions that the new president could take — asked employees to move beyond the election turmoil. At Starbucks Corp., for example, Howard Schultz told employees in a letter: “We have a choice in how we treat one another,” regardless of which candidate they supported.

Bloomberg notes that “companies increasingly recognize the need for employees to reflect their customers, and recruiting more women, minorities and people of different sexual orientations can help them stay competitive and innovative.”

“‘It’s a business imperative,’ said George Nichols, senior vice president of government affairs at New York Life Insurance Co. ‘Businesses that don’t invest in diversity efforts will increasingly be at a competitive disadvantage, regardless of the political landscape.’”

Another executive echoed Nichols’ commitment to diversity and inclusion: “We and other companies understand the importance of diversity and inclusiveness to get more innovation, better answers to problems and to reach more customers — and that’s not going to change,” said Timothy Ryan, U.S. chairman at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “‘We’re doubling down’ on diversity, he said in an interview. Some 44 percent of the new partners PwC named (in 2016) were women or minorities, while 47 percent of its workforce is female and 33 percent are minorities, he added.”

With leaders publicly reinforcing their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the aftermath of the political shift in Washington, D.C., perhaps it’s time for individual employees to do the same or to examine their viewpoints. Regardless of whether or not employees hold “official” leadership positions, they can still develop inclusive leadership traits to help them interact with others more effectively.

In our book, “Becoming an Inclusive Leader: How to Navigate the 21st Century Global Workforce,” we offer insights on critical traits that inclusive leaders need to have, or should develop, to ensure that they can engage others in achieving mutual goals and objectives.

Here’s the list:

1. Ego management

2. Open to a wide range of inputs

3. Intellectual curiosity

4. Transparency

5. Emotional intelligence

6. Futurecasting

7. Humility

8. Cultural agility

9. Collaboration

10. Accessibility

11. Diversity of thought

12. Adaptability

How are you doing. As we move further into 2017, there probably couldn’t be a better focus than to work to hone your inclusive leadership skills. Whether interacting with colleagues, customers, superiors, friends, relatives or others, being inclusive matters!

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