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The Power of Inclusive Leadership: Boosting Sense of Employee Belonging by 70%

In today’s diverse and dynamic workplaces, the role of inclusive managers and leaders cannot be overstated. They serve as the driving force behind creating an environment where employees feel a deep sense of belonging. Recent research conducted by Deloitte has shed light on the profound impact that middle managers and senior executives can have on fostering inclusivity within their organisations. The results are astounding: inclusive leadership can increase employees’ feelings of belonging by a remarkable 70%.

But why is this sense of belonging so crucial, and how exactly do inclusive leaders achieve these remarkable results? In this article, we will delve into the insights provided by Deloitte’s research and uncover the six key qualities that differentiate a good and inclusive leader.

“A sense of belonging is one of the top three most important reasons employees give for leaving their job.”

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The Impact of Inclusive Leadership

Deloitte’s research demonstrates that the behaviour of managers and leaders has a transformative effect on the workforce, particularly benefiting minority group members. When employees feel included, the positive outcomes ripple across the organisation:

Better Team Performance: Inclusive leadership can boost team performance by an impressive 17%. Teams that feel a strong sense of belonging tend to collaborate more effectively, communicate better, and work cohesively towards common goals.

Enhanced Decision-Making Quality: Inclusive leaders contribute to a 20% increase in decision-making quality. When diverse perspectives are valued and considered, decisions become more well-rounded and reflective of the broader employee base.

Improved Collaboration: Collaboration thrives in an inclusive environment, resulting in a 20% increase in collaborative efforts. When employees feel valued and heard, they are more likely to engage in cross-functional teamwork, leading to innovative solutions and higher productivity

The Six Traits of Inclusive Leaders

Now that we understand the incredible impact of inclusive leadership, let’s explore the six key traits that set these leaders apart:

1. Commitment: Inclusive leaders are deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. Their personal values align with their professional stance, and they are authentic in their communications. They understand the business case for diversity, equality, and inclusion and are unafraid to challenge the status quo. Inclusive leaders take personal responsibility for driving change within their organisations.

2. Courage: These leaders have the courage to invite others to contribute and actively seek diverse perspectives. They are aware of their own limitations and are not afraid to acknowledge them. By doing so, they create an environment where all team members feel comfortable sharing their unique viewpoints.

3. Bias Awareness: Inclusive leaders are acutely aware of their own blind spots and recognise systemic flaws within their organisations. They actively work to eliminate bias in decision-making processes and ensure that opportunities are accessible to all employees, regardless of their background.

4. Curiosity: Inclusive leaders possess an open mindset. They approach conversations with curiosity, genuinely interested in others’ experiences and perspectives. They listen without judgment, fostering an environment where all voices are valued and heard.

5. Cultural Competence: In a globalised world, inclusive leaders are mindful of different cultures within their teams. They adapt their leadership style as required to accommodate diverse cultural backgrounds, creating an inclusive space for all.

6. Collaboration: Inclusive leaders empower their teams by creating the right conditions for diverse thinking. They encourage employees to bring their authentic selves to work and actively seek out opportunities for collaboration. By valuing and harnessing the diverse talents within their teams, they drive innovation and productivity.

Inclusive leadership isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a proven strategy for enhancing employee belonging, team performance, decision-making quality, and collaboration. Deloitte’s research highlights the substantial impact that inclusive leaders can have on organisations, particularly benefiting under-represented group members.

To thrive in the evolving landscape of business, it’s crucial for leaders to embody these six traits of inclusive leadership. By doing so, they can create workplaces where every employee feels valued, heard, and truly a part of the team, ultimately leading to increased overall success for the organisation.

Source: Deloitte Review; ‘The diversity and inclusion revolution’ by Juliet Bourke and Bernardette Dillon