Inclusive Leadership at Work

While terms like “diversity, equity and inclusion” and “inclusive leadership” are nothing new, this past year has been a testament to why we need to place a greater emphasis on defining and refining these aspects of our business. And though inclusivity should have been a consideration for a long time now, the work is vast and we’re all learning and re-learning, so getting your workplace and your leadership up to par may take time.

We’re also continually in learning mode here at vChief when it comes to inclusive leadership, so we’re sharing some insights from local experts in DEI. Deborah Biddle, founder of The People Company, and Heidi Duss, founder of Culturescape, have spent years shaping and forming workplaces to fit a broad range of employees. Their influence is deep within this article as well, even when they’re not officially quoted. Ready to get started?

Defining inclusive leadership

The term speaks for itself, but it also encompasses so much more. At its base level, being an inclusive leader means you include everyone on your team in decision-making, accountability, and success.You are open and welcoming to all ideas and opinions. You adapt your leadership style to accommodate a wide range of personalities and work styles.

But inclusive leadership also starts at the ground level, in being very conscious and proactive in your hiring process. You cast your net wider when looking for potential candidates, and you do what you can so that candidates from all different backgrounds and experiences can find you. Building an organization filled with people that look like you, sound like you and think like you makes for a very boring and stunted workplace. Inclusive leadership starts with the development of your people and flows through every aspect of your organization from there.

It’s important to note that inclusive leadership cannot just be lip service, either. In the past year, we have seen more and more companies coming out with a variety of non-discrimination statements supporting equity and inclusion. But these are just words until leadership puts them into action. “The statements are meant to inspire and be walked out in our workplaces,” says Biddle. “Leaders must be at the forefront of driving inclusion.”

Ready to learn more? Continue reading: Inclusive Leadership at Work

Madeleine Niebauer is the Founder & CEO of vChief Virtual Chief of Staff service, which offers part-time and interim chief of staff support to start-ups, nonprofit organizations, and businesses of all sizes.



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