Everybody Counts: 4 Practices for Inclusive Leadership

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Everybody Counts: 4 Practices for Inclusive Leadership
Anneke Zwart, Moderator
Organizations that prioritize inclusiveness have shown to outperform those that are not. However, it remains a challenge for leaders/managers to create an inclusive culture. They need curiosity and courage. On top of these 2 character traits, Finkelstein (2017) mentions 4 practices for leaders/managers to become more "inclusive" (embracing the notion that every person counts, including and encompassing everyone):
  1. SEARCH FOR INNATE TALENT: According to Finkelstein, inclusiveness already begins at the stage of hiring. Traditional hiring often sticks to formal hiring standards that emphasizes a person´s background and résumé. Formal standards do not reflect a person´s underlying capabilities, but are rather makers of privilege. Inclusive managers should therefore try to focus on ´underlying qualities such as exceptional intelligence, creativity, and flexibility´ and create their own way of finding those.
  2. CHERISH EVERYONE'S CREATIVITY: While traditional leaders either consciously or unconsciously neglect or even suppress creative ideas, inclusive leaders are open to innovation and encourage employees of all levels within the organization to come up with new ideas.
  3. OPPORTUNITY AS DEVELOPMENT TOOL: Another feature of traditional leadership concerns limits in terms of (job) opportunities. Certain promotions can only be made at certain ages or after a certain period of having worked for the company. Being inclusive means believing in the capabilities of all your employees and to provide opportunities to all of them. Opportunity should be used as a tool for rapid development of your employees.
  4. FOSTERING COMPETITION AND COLLABORATION: Inclusive leaders should focus on creating both competitive AND collaborative working environments. Finkelstein believes that this will create ‘a kind of cauldron in which ideas collide, prompting new ideas to arise…this cauldron in turn fuels exceptional performance’.
What is your view on the benefits of inclusive organizations and on the above 4 practices to become more inclusive? Are there additional practices that could be added?
Source: Finkelstein, S (2017) “4 Way Managers Can Be More Inclusive” HBR July 2017



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