How would you describe an inclusive leader in one sentence? We asked ourselves this question and racked our brains.
The Harvard Business Review already asked the same question, and surveyed 3,500 employees on 450 managers to answer it. As a result of the survey, the following character traits were defined for inclusive leaders:1
Inclusive leaders should do less ordering and more coaching. They should help when employees get stuck. They should create an environment where employee opinions are valued. And they should act as part of the team. To achieve this, empathy, openness, humility and owning up to their own mistakes are important.
Due to the sheer number of employees, companies are often able to access a huge cache of company knowledge. Wouldn’t it be foolish to limit this knowledge to just managers when making decisions? All employees should be encouraged to question things and contribute their thoughts, and this works best under inclusive leadership. When employees feel that changes have to come from above and that their superiors have to be perfect and all-knowing in their jobs, this can hinder a company. It’s much easier to criticise than to change. Inclusive leadership strives towards managers relinquishing control and involving employees more.
We believe that a manager’s job is to support employees in their tasks, take their concerns seriously and to encourage and embolden them. That’s why we take care of our staff and give them space for courage and autonomy. Relationships and friendship take centre stage for us. That’s how independent, motivated individuals with a range of skills form innovative, strong teams.
Employees shouldn’t feel that changes are brought down on them from above. A company should function as a team, not as a hierarchy. Managers take on the role of coaches. In one sentence:
Inclusive leaders are managers that work for their employees.
1 https://hbr.org/2019/03/why-inclusive-leaders-are-good-for-organizations-and-how-to-become-one (14.11.20)
Published: 23. November 2020